Buckinghamshire is one of two counties in England which has a county wide grammar school system. For children to gain entry to grammar schools in Bucks – effectively, selective state schools – children must undertake an 11 testing process.
The format of 11 grammar school testing varies between different areas of the UK. In Buckinghamshire the test comprises of two verbal reasoning papers which children take in October of Year 6. Each paper is made up of 80 questions, and lasts 50 minutes.
The mark gained out of 80 is converted into a standardised score between 79 (the lowest score) and 141 (the highest score). This allows the age of the child to be considered in the context of the test: a child with a September birthday needs to achieve a higher mark to receive the same standardised score as an August-born child (who would be 11 months younger).
In order to gain entry to a Bucks grammar school a child needs to attain a standardised score of 121 or above in at least one verbal reasoning paper. About 28-30% of children taking the test in Bucks gain a 121 pass. If a child is not successful, parents may appeal on behalf of the child in order to gain entry to a grammar school. About 2% of appeals are successful.
At Gateway School we prepare children for 11 verbal reasoning tests by placing an emphasis on study skills and excellent literacy. We offer specialist teaching in all subjects which exposes children to a wide range of language and extends their vocabulary. We work closely with the Heads of all Bucks grammar schools and are fully aware of curriculum differences between schools.