What You Need to Know About The Eleven Plus Exam In Buckinghamshire
In Buckinghamshire, the 11+ Exam is big business. The Grammar school system is still going strong here and, with many Bucks Grammars (including Dr Challoners) being seen as more prestigious than even the private school alternatives, competition is fierce to say the least. Many parents in Buckinghamshire choose to get their children tutored towards the 11+ exam from an early age, but it’s important to honestly consider whether your child would be well-suited to an academically-pressured Grammar school environment, and whether intensive 11+ preparation fits in with your child’s and your family’s life.
If you and your child’s teachers believe that your child would be well-suited to Grammar school, the first step is to ensure their general maths and English skills are as strong as possible. Year 4 is a good time to iron out any weaknesses or sloppy habits in either subject, before more intensive 11+ preparation starts. Every child is different, but we don’t generally recommend any form of tuition before Year 4, as at this stage your child is very much still in the early stages of their academic development, and too much pressure too soon could do more harm than good.
Some parents start earlier, but we believe that Year 5 is the best time to start properly preparing for the Eleven-plus exam. We start our face-to-face courses in the January, with a little bit of warming up in the months beforehand, and that has provided us with enough time to have our students ready for the exam without over doing it and losing focus.
By starting in the January of Year 5, your child will have eight full months to prepare. There is a lot of material to be covered in 11+ exam prep, some of which might not have been well practised in school at that stage. We always recommend a strategy of little and often when it comes to learning, as this is proven to aid memory and understanding of different topics. There is a delicate balance between starting too early and starting too late; too early and your child may become bored and resistant, but if you leave preparation to the last minute then your child is likely to feel panicked.
It can be easy to get caught up in 11+ fever in Buckinghamshire, but you know your child better than anyone else. Make sure you consider what is right for them rather than simply following the advice or actions of others. Some people will tell you that your child absolutely NEEDS extensive tuition to pass the exam, but – and this is coming from an 11+ tuition company! – that may not always be the case if your child is already very academically strong.
Bucks Grammar Schools
Bucks is one of the few counties where education is fully selective. The Buckinghamshire County Council manages the admission into Year 7 at all the schools in the County. At present, there are around 13 grammar schools and 21 upper schools in Bucks.
The BGC has an opt-out system for the 11+ in the region. That means students attending state primary schools in the county are required to take the test unless their parents withdraw them from it.
Students from private schools and from outside the county must apply to take the eleven plus exam in Bucks.
The grammar schools located in Buckinghamshire are:
- Aylesbury Grammar School
- Aylesbury High School
- Beaconsfield High School
- Burnham Grammar School
- Chesham Grammar School
- Dr. Challoners Grammar School
- Dr. Challoners High School
- John Hampden Grammar School
- Royal Grammar School
- The Royal Latin School
- Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School
- Sir William Borlase School
- Wycombe High School
11+ In Buckinghamshire Private Schools
Private schools operating in the county are administering the Eleven-plus exam on behalf of the BCC. They are known as Partner Schools. Students can get the application form for the eleven plus in Bucks and the CAF from their Partner Schools. The test will also take place in the school, and the results will be delivered through the school as well.
Important Details About The 11+ Exam In Buckinghamshire
The test date is scheduled in early September and the results are released mid-October in order to comply with the 2012 Admissions Code. That way parents already know the outcome of the eleven plus in Bucks before the deadline for submitting the Common Application Form on October 31st.
Around 30 percent of students qualify for grammar school place yearly. And for those who failed to place, there’s still hope. Five percent qualify for grammar school after appealing against non-qualification. Children living within a certain radius from the school gates are prioritised over other students.
One thing unique about Buckinghamshire is that the county has retained the 12+ and 13+ tests for entry into grammar school. While there is no guarantee that children who pass the tests are given a school place, it provides them with a little bit of hope if they failed in the 11 plus exam.
11+ Format in Bucks
The Eleven-plus in Bucks has seen a bit of to-ing and fro-ing over recent years, but it has settled back to being administered by GL Assessment as of the 2018 exam. However, the format of the exam is quite different to the Bucks GL Assessment 11+ exams of the past, which were widely criticised for being too predictable and therefore too easily tutored for. The format of the Bucks 11+ exam is now thought to be most similar to that of the Kent exam, and typically consists of the following:
There are two papers of the exam (English and Verbal Reasoning in one paper, Maths and Non-Verbal Reasoning in the other), which are around 45 minutes long each.
The test contains questions on various topics in multiple choice formats and each subject area of the exam has equal weighting (25% of their raw score).
So What Next
For more information about signing to the FSL 11+ course, click here.