11 Plus Information (Key Timeline Points)
In Year 5
Begin tutoring - weekly sessions
11 plus preparation work for the children is ongoing in the Autumn and Spring Term and will focus on aspects of the maths and English test to increase confidence and fluency, as well as efficiency. The Summer term will lead to a more detailed focus on the exam itself and pick up on test technique and brush up on any elements that the children are lacking confidence in. Pupils will need to maintain the momentum throughout the Summer holidays to ensure that they are best prepared for the test when returning to school in Year 6 (tutoring will, of course, continue until the test).
Although ample practice materials will be distributed as part of the tutoring, others can be downloaded from the schools' sites and GL assessment materials (https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk).
Practise papers - recommended titles are:
1) GL 11+ Practice Papers (3 packs for each subject)
2) CGP 11+ Practice Papers
3) First Past the Post 11+ Practice Papers
Ongoing Revision Books (10 minute tests)
I will inform parents of which books to purchase and when.
Registration for the 11 plus with Plymouth City Council (https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/)
Registration for the mock test (for the girls a fee is payable for this. No charge for the boys!). Check the school's website for details. A limit is put on this due to the number of children that can be accommodated at each venue so it is therefore advisable to book a place right away.
Mock tests are taken by the children in the respective Grammar Schools. The test consists of a maths paper (multiple choice) and an English comprehension paper which is also multiple choice. In addition DHSB candidates will have an English composition paper.
After the test, girls receive their scores/ranking. (The boys' results are self- assessed). Remember there are 120 places available in each of the girls' schools for Year 7 entry and the planned admission number for Devonport High School for boys is normally about 50% higher (approximately 180 boys). The mock test gives parents a good indication of the likelihood of success in the real test.
In Year 6
September - tests are carried out at the respective schools over the course of two weekends.
October - Results obtained
March - allocations are made for the available places (Parents informed).
The Mock Exam - additional details
The mock test is a good opportunity for pupils to familiarise themselves with the test environment and also get used to the format of the tests. It is not mandatory for those wishing to go to grammar school to sit the mock test but it is an ideal opportunity to ascertain if your child is going to have a chance of being successful in the selection process.
Devonport High School for Boys will allow you to take the mock test paper home and mark it yourself. This will provide an idea of the pupil's attainment in relation to the test but it will not give you a comparison with other pupils.
Plymouth High School and Devonport High School for Girls run the mock test differently and after the test a letter will be sent to parents informing you of how your child scored in the test - broken down as follows:
English comprehension (Standardised Score)
Maths (Standardised Score)
Total for both subjects (Standardised Score)
For each subject, the range of scores will be approximately 70 (lowest) to 140 (highest). Overall (both subjects) standardised scores will range from approximately 140 to 280. These figures will be included in the feedback.
The school will also provide details on how many children sat the test (normally around 350 for the girls) and a ranked placement position across both schools.
You will therefore have a useful indicator to gauge how your daughter is performing compared with other children sitting the test. Each school will select the top 120 girls from the test in September and bear in mind that there will be a higher number sitting the test than the number who took the mock test (in 2020, it was 400 girls).
In terms of the standardized score, a mark of 100 in each subject does not mean that a child has 'passed' the test, but it is almost certain that if this was achieved in the real test, it would be enough to gain a place. The cut off point (averaging the two scores) is normally around 185. This is, of course dependent on the cohort of children sitting the test.
11 plus - Right Choice?
It is worth contemplating the fact that the 11 plus and Grammar Schools have been part of the English education system since 1944 - brought in just before World War 2 ended. Butler's Education Act introduced the idea of a selective secondary school which could be accessed by all who wished to sit the entrance exam and consequently have the possibility of gaining a Grammar School place. The 11 plus system has continued to be a political hot potato since its birth and the idea of Grammar Schools continues to be fiercely debated, not only in the halls of Westminster but homes throughout England.
As an educationalist, I have been asked many times what my opinion is on children sitting the 11 plus examination and I will briefly state my viewpoint.
Firstly, I think it is not a passport for future success for those children who gain a place at Grammar School - for pupils that have the intrinsic motivation to succeed, they will thrive in whatever school they attend - perhaps Plymouth's Chris Dawson is testament to that theory. I also believe that children should be the main drivers in the decision making. It is, after all, their education. I think we have 'Centres of Excellence' in all walks of life and it is particularly prevalent in sport so why not in state education?
I know that it is not just a simple question of whether or not you put your child in for the 11 plus exam - I accept that we have an unfair society and I'm sure it is reflected in the Grammar School catchment . This brings me round to tutoring for the 11 plus test. I could ask the question - if you were in a title fight or a hoping to pass your driving test, would you prepare for it? I think you would be putting a child at considerable disadvantage if you did not allow them to prepare for this 'competition.'
In conclusion, ask yourself the following questions before putting your child on the 11 plus path -
Will my child be happy at this school? and will he/she thrive in the academic environment?
If it is yes, go for it and if you need a tutor give me a call!