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Wirral & Liverpool 11 plus guide

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:37 PM

Wirral and Liverpool 11 plus

Looking for information about the 11 plus for 2024 entry to grammar school on the Wirral or in Liverpool? We’ve collated all the information you'll need in this guide. Read on to learn what to expect from the application process and how to help your child prepare for the exam.

Wirral & Liverpool 11 plus: key info

  • Exam registration closes: May–September 2023 (depending on the school)

  • Register via: Wirral Council, St Anselm's College, Upton Hall School, or Blue Coat School

  • Exam date: mid-September 2023

  • Exam board type: GL Assessment (Wirral Admissions Test) & schools' own

  • Results: mid-October 2023

  • Local authority application form deadline: 31st October 2023

  • National school offer day: 1st March 2024

  • Appeals: heard by an independent panel

Dates vary between schools, so always check with your target schools!

Wirral & Liverpool grammar schools

There are six grammar schools in Wirral and one in Liverpool that use 11 plus tests to select their pupils:



There are also three partially selective schools in Liverpool that offer about 15% of their places based on musical/academic ability:

  • King David High School (musical aptitude for pupils of the Jewish faith)

  • St Hilda’s CofE High School

  • St Margaret’s CofE High School

What is the Wirral 11 plus test?

The 11 plus is an entrance exam used by UK grammar schools as part of their admissions process. It's used to estimate academic potential and decide whether a grammar school environment will suit a child. Children can only take the test once per academic year, in September while they are in Year 6.

Four of the schools on the Wirral share the same entrance test and procedures, known as the Wirral Admissions Test. The other two Wirral grammar schools and Liverpool Blue Coat School each set their own 11 plus papers.

Wirral Admissions Test: GL Assessment papers in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and maths.

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How to apply to Wirral & Liverpool grammar schools

1. Register for entrance exams

To apply for Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby Grammar School, Wirral Grammar School for Boys or Wirral Grammar School for Girls:

  • Register your child for the Wirral Admissions Test by 31st May 2023. Download the registration form at and return it to Wirral Council (or your child's current school if they attend a Wirral primary school).

To apply for St Anselm's College:

To apply for Upton Hall School:

To apply for The Liverpool Blue Coat School:

2. Apply for school places

To be offered a place at these schools, you must list them as a preference on the secondary school application form issued by your home local authority (e.g. Wirral, Cheshire, or Liverpool).

You should only include grammar schools on your preference list if your child has met the qualifying score in their 11 plus exams. Schools usually publish their qualifying score, or a guideline, in their admissions policies.

The application form must be submitted to your local council by 31st October 2023.

3. National school offer day

On 1st March 2024, you will find out which school your child has been allocated a place at. They will be allocated a place at your highest-preferred school for which they meet the entry criteria and which has places available.

If no places are available at your preferred schools, they will be offered a place at another school in your area. You can appeal the decision via an independent panel.

What's on the Wirral & Liverpool 11 plus?

Wirral Admissions Test

The Wirral Admissions Test is used by Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby Grammar School, Wirral Grammar School for Boys and Wirral Grammar School for Girls. It will take place on 18th September 2023.

The exam is provided by GL Assessment. It's in multiple-choice format and consists of two papers, each lasting about one hour. Children write their answers in a separate answer booklet which is marked electronically.

The two papers contain questions across three subjects:

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Non-verbal reasoning

  • Maths

The maths questions assess your child's knowledge of Key Stage 2 national curriculum objectives for Year 5 and 6. The reasoning questions assess your child's ability to solve problems and analyse written and visual information.

Learn about 11+ subjects in detail

There is a guide to the tests with some example questions on Wirral Council website.

St Anselm's College 11 plus

The St Anselm's College entrance exam consists of three written papers:

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Maths

  • English

Each paper lasts one hour. You can find some sample questions on the school's website here.

For entry into Year 7 in September 2024, the St Anselm's 11 plus exam will take place provisionally on 22nd September 2023. Once you have registered with the school, they will contact you in September 2023 with details of the day.

Upton Hall 11 plus

Upton Hall School's 11 plus test consists of two papers, both in verbal reasoning. Each paper lasts 50 minutes, with a short break in between.

The exam is provided by NFER (National Foundation of Educational Research).

For entry into Year 7 in September 2024, the Upton Hall 11 plus exam will take place on 16th September 2023. You must register with the school by 10th July 2023, and they will send you a letter by the end of August with details of the exam arrangements.

The Blue Coat School 11 plus

The Liverpool Blue Coat School 11 plus exam will take place on Saturday 23rd September 2023. There are two papers of 50 minutes each:

  • Maths

  • English

During the application window (July and August), the school publishes information packs about the entrance test on its website.

What is the pass mark for Wirral & Liverpool grammar schools?

Schools can decide their own pass marks based on their entry criteria. Pass marks also vary year-on-year, as they will depend on the performance of the cohort.

In general, UK grammar schools tend to consider the top 25% highest-scoring children for a place. Children's 11 plus scores are standardised to even out any age disadvantage for children born later in the year.

Scoring criteria

A score of 236 or above is needed to be considered for a place. Priority criteria will be applied when the schools are oversubscribed.

Achieving the pass mark doesn't guarantee a place at the school of your choice, as schools could still be oversubscribed with qualified candidates. We always recommend researching the admission policies for your target school, looking at their oversubscription criterion and their catchment area.

How can I help my child prepare for the 11 plus?

Here are our top tips on how to help your child prepare for the 2023 exam:

Cover all the content

The 11 plus assesses a large breadth and depth of learning objectives. Starting at least one year before the test, using a little-and-often approach, will give your child time to securely build the skills and knowledge they need.

Atom Nucleus is an 11 plus online course which tailors your child's personalised learning journey to cover all elements of the Wirral and Liverpool exams. This will help you to avoid the common mistake of over-focusing on the topics your child enjoys, or conversely, the topics they find the most difficult.

No surprises

Make sure your child is familiar with all styles of questions they will experience in the test. This reduces the potential for stress on the day and will give them confidence to answer the questions to the best of their ability. Access to unlimited Wirral 11 plus test papers will allow your child to build exam technique and feel fully prepared on the day.

Engage with their progress

Setting regular goals and celebrating achievements will help keep motivation high. Atom offers data-driven insights into your child’s progress towards mastering the 11 plus content, making it easy to see where they need to focus next.

Personalised 11 plus prep for your child

Wondering how to make sure your child covers the depth and breadth of the entire 11 plus curriculum, stays on track with their progress, and gets help when they're stuck? Online learning is a particularly efficient, cost-effective (and fun) way to do this!

Atom Nucleus is the award-winning online 11 plus practice platform that gives your child everything they need to prepare for grammar school exams.

Children work independently through over 90,000 interactive practice questions in English, maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Teacher-created helpsheets and videos help them discover new concepts and consolidate their learning.

Atom's algorithm keeps children on their ideal learning path, tailored to their unique learning style and pace to keep them challenged and motivated.

Wirral 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus gives children access to unlimited online practice papers tailored to the Wirral 11 plus test. Our online tests are designed to mirror the format and style of real 11 plus questions, so your child will go into the exam knowing exactly what to expect.

And what's more, everything is automatically marked for you.

Try Atom Nucleus free for 5 days

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Personalised 11 plus support for you

We know how keen you are for your child to do well in the 11 plus, to give them every chance of securing a place at their school of choice. Our dedicated team of Education Experts are on hand to support you and your family every step of the way:

Ask us anything

We're happy to help with any questions you may have about admissions processes and helping your child prepare for entry to grammar school on the Wirral and in Liverpool.

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