Admission Policies can be Complex
The policies that schools use to allot their places are complex, and they can affect your child’s prospect of getting a place. Whichever school you apply to can have its own specific admissions criteria. Familiarise yourself with each one so you know how realistic your child’s chances of being offered a place are.
The idea of ‘best mark first’ is used by some selective schools to allot places. Children are ranked on the basis of the test scores achieved and the allocation is according to the highest marks scored on the list. However, many set an 11+ ‘pass mark’ then allocate places to children who score beyond this mark supported other criteria such as whether they have a sibling in the school already and distance from the school.
Many grammar schools are oversubscribed therefore, your child might not be offered a place despite of reaching the 11+ pass mark. For example, school can give preference to the children who live closer to the school and you do not live close enough.
Fill in the Application Form Carefully
It’s essential for every parent is to fill in a secondary school application form when their child is in the autumn term of year 6. Put down schools in your preference order, listing all the grammar schools first. Minimum one non-selective state secondary school must be on the list as a back-up where your child is expected to acquire a place.
If your child has not qualified for your selected grammar schools, the LA will allot your child a place at any comprehensive school with vacant places. It can be a school mile away that you really don’t want. It’s perfectly ok to put the non-selective school at the bottom of list.
Writing one school only on your form or writing the same school multiple times won’t give your child a superior chance of obtaining a place there. List as many schools as possible. This allows you the more say in where your child goes to secondary school.
Independent Schools Entrance Tests
Most independent (fee-paying) schools also set their own admission tests for entrance into year 7. Tests are quite similar format to the 11+ tests in some schools. You would have to contact them directly to find out about the admissions policy of any independent school you’re applying to.
If you really desire for your child to go to a selective school, it may be worth exploring an independent school as a back-up option. Scholarships and bursaries are often available for those on a low income.
Research Each School
You’ll need to know the following about the schools you apply to:
1) What is a way to enter for the test — whether you need to send off any paperwork to enter your child into the test (and when the cut-off time for this is), or will they be entered automatically.
2) What is in the test — which subjects will be tested (English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning etc.)
3) What is the test format — the format the test will take (multiple choice or standard answer) and the duration of the test.
4) Where the test will take place and when.
5) Any other admissions criteria — e.g. if a brother or sister already at the school or how far you live from the school etc.
6) If past papers or mock tests are available — some schools organise mock tests or publish past test papers. Though often they charge a fee.