When you’re deciding where you want your child to spend some of the most important years of their education, you’re probably asking, what are grammar schools and why do I want my child to study at one? We hope the following helps answer some of the questions about grammar schools, how you can gain a place and whether there are any near you.
What Are Grammar Schools?
Grammar schools are one of several different types of secondary schools in the United Kingdom. When children reach the end of their primary schooling, parents will make choices about what type of educational institution they want their child to attend. Their choice can be based on several things including proximity to the school from home, the school’s position in league tables or the facilities at the school. The majority of children will attend a comprehensive school, either under local authority administration or academy status. Some parents opt for their child to attend a private school where a fee is paid to secure a space. The other option is grammar school where children are accepting based on their academic ability using an entrance examination.
11 Plus Exam
To gain a place at a grammar school children have to sit an exam; the 11 plus (sometimes written as 11+). The name is derived from the fact that children who attend secondary school do so in the September following their 11th birthday. The exam tests them in 4 areas:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Non-Verbal Reasoning
Each of these subjects is tested with the 11 plus exam which in Birmingham is set by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). The exam is usually held on the first Saturday in September and results are announced in October in time for parents to complete the local authority preference form to chose which school they want their child to attend. The exam results are standardised to take into account the age disparity between children born at various points during the year so there is not a specific pass mark as such. Places are allocated based on a pupils score, then some additional criteria; from eligibility for pupil premium (free school meals) to the distance from the school.
There are several grammar schools across Birmingham and the West Midlands. These include:
- Adams’ Grammar School, Newport (boys)
- Alcester Grammar School, Alcester (mixed)
- Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield (boys)
- Handsworth Grammar School, Handsworth (boys)
- King Edward VI Aston School, Aston (boys)
- K.Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Kings Heath (boys)
- King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Kings Heath (girls)
- K. Edward VI Five Ways School, Bartley Green (mixed)
- King Edward VI Handsworth School, Handsworth (girls)
- K. Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon (boys)
- Lawrence Sheriff School, Rugby (boys)
- Newport Girls High School, Newport (girls)
- Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall (boys)
- Queen Mary’s High School, Walsall (girls)
- Rugby High School for Girls, Rugby (girls)
- St. Joseph’s College, Stoke-on-Trent (mixed)
- Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls, Stratford-upon-Avon (girls)
- Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls, Sutton Coldfield (girls)
- Wolverhampton Girls’ High School, Newbridge (girls)
Is Your Child in Year Three, Four or Five?
Hopefully, we’ve answered the question “What are grammar schools?” You may be asking what the next steps are to help your child gain a place. If your child is in years three, four or five, we can help give them the best start to gaining a place at grammar school. Send Smart 11+ Tuition a message today to get their journey started: