Secondary schools in the UK are mostly non-selective. This means that children do not need to sit an exam to receive an education from the age of 11. However, this is different in some parts of the UK. Grammar schools were introduced in 1944 for children who showed the qualities that might suggest they could go on to university or higher education.
Grammar school places are limited to the most able children of the year. As a result, the 11 plus exam is viewed with an amount of prestige. Parents will often arrange private tuition for their child to prepare for the test, such as ours at Smart 11+ Tuition.
There were lots of grammar schools built between 1945 and 1960, but many of these were shut in the 1960s. Across England there are 163 grammar schools remaining and approximately 3000 secondary schools.
Local Grammar Schools
In Birmingham and the West Midlands, there are 8 grammar schools. There are boys, girls and co-educational schools. Each year there are between 1200 to 1300 places at these schools, with a much greater number sitting the 11 plus exam.
To gain a place, a child has to show that they have the academic potential to succeed at a grammar school. The pass mark for each school is different but this isn’t a reliable way of judging what a child needs to do in the exam. This is because there is no “pass-mark”. You can read more about it in this blog. A child is only guaranteed a place if they perform at their best!
The 11 Plus
The optional exam is sat by children in year 6. Children must sit the exam if they want to go to grammar school. There are 4 sections to the exam:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Non-verbal Reasoning
In order to be offered a place, children must show their academic ability across all the subjects.
How Do Schools Prepare Children For the 11+ Exam?
In short, they don’t. That’s why lots of parents turn to tuition providers in order to help boost their child’s chances of passing the exam.
Smart 11+ Tuition
We hope we’ve answered the question, “what are grammar schools?” If you want to know more, send us a message today.