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How to get a place at grammar school

Grammar schools have been around for hundreds of years. Since around the 1800s most grammar schools have required children to take an entrance test to see if they are suitable. Competition has always been fierce to get into grammar schools.  In 1974, Grammar Schools were abolished and the modern secondary school came into existence. But we still have grammar schools that you have to apply for. To get into these schools you have to take an entrance test (sometimes still called the 11 plus/11+). Across Manchester and Cheshire they are several state grammar schools where getting a place is highly competitive. Altrincham Girls Grammar and Altrincham Boys Grammar, Sale, Stretford and Urmston all fall into this category and their entrance tests are fast approaching. If your child is applying for Altrincham Girls and Boys, Sale, Stretford and Urmston then they’ll be taking their entrance test (11+) in September.

The problems with entrance tests tend to crop up when parents don’t know what to expect – 11+ tend not to be your average exam and a seemingly exceptional child can ‘fail’ the tests and not get entrance to the school. The tests are usually made up of three parts – maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Some schools also set an English test.

  • Maths –This test is generally based on more difficult skills learned during KS2, usually at about level 5 standard.
  • Verbal reasoning – These are usually logic problems involving number and word type.  Your child needs to be able to rapidly ‘frame’ a problem (that means understand and conceptualise it). Most ‘state’ schools don’t teach verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills, which is why a skilled private tutor can make all the difference.
  • Non-verbal reasoning – These are logic problems based on shapes, sequences or patterns.
  • English – Some of the schools use comprehension tests, or test fluency and accuracy by asking a child to write a short essay or story. They are looking for good spelling, vocabulary and punctuation, use of language and handwriting.

You can read more about 11+ here.

If you need help with summer tuition for grammar school entrance tests and 11+ then contact us at 121 Home Tutors. We have helped children from across Manchester and Cheshire including Macclesfield, Prestbury, Didsbury and around Withington get into Altrincham Girls Grammar and Altrincham Boys Grammar, Sale, Stretford and Urmston grammar schools.


6 Responses to “How to get a place at grammar school”

  1. Anna says:


    […]How to get a place at grammar school[…]…

  2. Khushi says:

    How do I get a place

  3. Khushi says:


  4. Ayodele Ogunnubi says:

    Hi, I’m planing to relocate to Warrington and I noticed that there are no grammar schools in Warrington. Please I will like to know the requirements of securing a placement for daughter in one of the Grammar schools in Chesire. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

  5. Alison says:

    Each school has different entry requirements so you need to check the school websites for information. Good luck in your search for a school.

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