So here we are with Part 2. I am glad alot of you found Part 1 of this post useful. It is really encouraging. I wasn’t sure whether to post these kinds of posts, but I am glad I did.
In this post, I will go through the differences between the 11+ exams for Kent, Bexley and Medway and some good resources to use in order to prepare for these exams (based on the information for 2017). Also, be mindful that there are grammar schools in other areas such as Essex, and North West London, but I do not know much about the process for those areas. If you live in these areas, it is definitely worth researching before considering a move to Kent/Bexley/Bromley/Medway for their Grammar schools.
Let me just say, I know that this whole 11+ experience can be daunting, especially on us parents. We want the best for our children naturally, so alot of us will have our hopes resting on these exams. I get it. We want our child(ren) to have the best educational experience that we can give. Look, I even stress about good primary schools for my daughter and she is only 3 years old!!!! (By the way, I have got a couple of posts in the pipeline about state vrs private education and primary schools, so stay tuned!)
One thing I do know is, please please please do not pass this stress onto your child, it can cause unnecessary pressure. It really can have a lasting effect, whether they pass or fail (I personally hate the word ‘fail’ when it comes to children but you get what I am trying to say). Just reassure them that you are proud of them either way, but also encourage them to do their best.
Also be mindful about how many tests your child will be sitting, and how many days they will require off from their primary school. I know as a parent you want to give your child as many options as possible but please do not over-stretch your child. I witnessed a child doing the Kent, Bexley, Medway exams, two exams for St Olaves in Bromley and exams for other private schools! Some children can sit four or five tests comfortably, some children can only sit two before experiencing a burn out, so it is important to watch your child closely during the preparation, and see what he/she can handle. I think we as parents know our children the best, but the question is are we willing to accept our child’s limits?! I know how tough that is!
Good Resources for the 11+
This website is great whilst you are preparing for the 11+ exams. It has mock exams, a forum where you can ask questions from other parents who are going through or have gone through the process, it has a detailed section on Appeals (in case your child missed the pass mark) and many other great things.
One thing to point out though, it is no good just spending your coins on these books and throwing them at your child to do. Take an analytical and methodological approach to the preparation. If you are paying a tutor, they should be doing this. Regularly see what your child is the weakest in and spend some time focusing on this area.
Bexley 11+. Written by CEM (the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) at the University of Durham. As of 2017.
There are 4 Grammar schools in Bexley, none of which are super selective. You need to register your child for entry to take these tests with Bexley Council. If you do not register, you cannot sit the test. Please make sure you know the deadline for registration. The Grammar schools are:
Townley School (Girls)
Beths School (Boys)
Chislehurst and Sidcup (Mixed)
This exam consists of two test papers which cover:
- Verbal ability and English Comprehension
- Numerical reasoning (up to and including Year 5 level)
- Non-verbal reasoning (as of 2017 from Bexley Council).
What is the pass mark?
The test scores are weighted so that 50% is for verbal ability, and 25% each for numerical and non-verbal ability. The results are standardised: in other words, adapted to take account of your child’s exact age. Summer born children are not disadvantaged in these exams. The highest possible score is 280. The Bexley Selection Panel decides each year on the threshold mark for children to be considered selective, but this doesn’t guarantee them a grammar school place.
Whether your child is considered ‘selective’ will be based on a ‘total weighted age-standardised score achieved in the test’. The 180 children with the highest age standardised scores will be given their choice in schools regardless of distance. All other pupils will still be subject to the individual grammar schools admissions criteria such as distance. There is no guarantee of an offer of a place. So it is possible to pass the 11+ and to not get into a grammar school because you do not meet the schools admission criteria. Waiting lists do apply and sometimes do move, so all hope is not lost if your child does not get a place in the first round. They can get a place in the second or third round.
In 2016 there were 800 Grammar school places; in 2016, 5685 children took the 11+, with 1753 achieving the selective standard (a total score of 216 or above in 2016). I know these figures look scary, but do not let it scare you. There are children who will apply for other schools, so if you really like a specific school and you passed the exams, keep your fingers and toes crossed.
Kent (written by GL
There are thirty two Grammar Schools in Kent (excluding Medway). Remember some are super selective, and others are not. But you will still need to pass the Kent 11+ to even get the option to even apply to these schools.
Barton Court Grammar School
Oakwood park Grammar School
Borden Grammar School
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
Chatham House Grammar School
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
Clarendon House Grammar School
Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School
Dane Court Grammar School
Sir Roger Manwood’s School
Dartford Grammar School for Girls (Dartford)
The Folkestone School for Girls
Dartford Grammar School (Dartford)
The Harvey Grammar School
Dover Grammar School for Boys
The Judd School (B)
Dover Grammar School for Girls
The Norton Knatchbull School
Gravesend Grammar School (B)
The Skinner’s School (B), Tunbridge Wells
Highsted Grammar School
Tonbridge School (G) Tonbridge
Highworth Grammar School
Tunbridge Wells Girl’s Grammar School, Tunbridge Wells
Invicta Grammar School, Maidstone
Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells
Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, Maidstone
Weald of Kent Grammar School, Sevenoaks/Tonbridge (Girls)
Maidstone Grammar School, Maidstone
Wilmington Grammar School for Boys, Wilmington (Boys)
Mayfield Grammar School, Gravesend
Wilmington Grammar School for Girls, Wilmington (Girls)
The Kent test involves 2 papers multiple choice format, with a separate answer sheet.
The first test will be an English and Maths paper, 1 hour long split into two sections. The first section is English and the second section is Maths.
Second test is a reasoning paper which has three sections;
- verbal reasoning (ability to think using words and symbols
- non-verbal reasoning (the ability to think about the relationship between shapes and patterns.
- spatial reasoning (how well you can manipulate shapes and space in your head)
What is the Pass mark?
Children receive 3 standardised score, one for English, one for Maths and one for reasoning. The threshold for the total score is 320, with no single score lower than 106. The lowest possible score in each test is 69 and the highest is 141. The highest possible total score is 423
An important thing to note is that OOC (Out of Catchment) children require higher scores than In Catchment children, in some cases a score of over 380 out of 423, even going to 400 for some schools! This leave some parents with children who have passed but not with a high enough score scrambling to move before December to enable their children to be considered ‘In Catchment’.
There are six Grammar Schools in Kent – Medway that children will need to take an 11 Plus Exam to get into (and one bilateral school – The Howard School).
Holcombe Grammar School for Boys (previously Chatham Grammar school for Boys)
Rainham Mark Grammar School (M)
Chatham Grammar School for Girls
Fort Pitt Grammar School (G)
Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School (B)
The Rochester Grammar School (G)
The Howard School (Boys)
The Medway Test is made up of three separate papers:
- Extended Writing
- Verbal Reasoning
What is the Pass Mark?
The pass mark in Medway is calculated as follows. Firstly the scores are standardised, giving a minimum score of 70 and a maximum score of 140. Then the individual test scores are weighted as follows:
The Verbal Reasoning test score is given a weighting of 1
The Maths and Extended Writing task are given a weighting of 2
Thus the test effectively consists of 20 percent Verbal Reasoning, 40 percent Mathematics and 40 percent English
Bromley (written and set by individual schools)
There are only two Grammar schools in Bromley and these two schools as Super Selectives: St Olaves (B) and Newstead Wood (G). They have their own individual tests, so you apply for these schools separately. Competition is equally as fierce for these schools, and they select the highest scores.
2 papers – Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning.
The papers are both multi-choice
1st stage – School’s Selective Eligibility Test (SET), comprising Logic, Mathematics and English questions. The result of this test does not guarantee a place at St Olave’s Grammar School.
2nd stage – Second stage tests in English and Mathematics. These will take place before the end of the Autumn term. Scores will be standardised and then aggregated, together with the SET marks, to allow a ranking of candidates. The testing will be competitive and the first 124 in rank order will be offered places.
So there you have it. I hope this has been useful information for you. This information was correct at the time of writing. Please let me if you like these type of posts, I love feedback
Next we will look at:
State education vrs Private
Picking primary schools