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11+ Information

Torbay is an area with a Selective Grammar School system: parents can choose for their child to take the ‘11+’ test if they wish for them to apply for a place at one of the selective schools in the area.  The Spires College is one of very few schools in the country with bilateral streams.  This allows us to take up to 60 students each year into a selective stream.  Students who have reached a designated mark in the ‘11+’ test can apply to our selective stream to access a challenging academic curriculum.

The selective schools in Torbay co-ordinate the 11+ test together.  The same test is taken at the same time at each school.  Children can take the test at any one of Torbay's selective schools and apply for a place at other Torbay selective schools as the schools will liaise to ensure that each school has the relevant information in order to consider the application in accordance with their admission policy.

Children must register to take the 11+ test with the school of their choice as the test papers are prepared and personalised in advance.  The registration form is available to be downloaded at the bottom of this page. Following registration, families will be sent a letter with details of the arrangements for the day.  Typically, children will arrive at the school at 8.45 am; they will complete the first part of the test followed by a break when they can visit the toilet and have a drink and snack, then complete the second part of the test before being collected late morning/lunch time.

The test consists of two CEM papers supplied by Durham University and will be marked in accordance with their regulations.  CEM tests cover English and Verbal Reasoning (VR), Maths and Numerical Reasoning, and Non-verbal Reasoning (NVR).  Children are not expected to have completed any additional work to prepare for the tests beyond the classroom, however it is a good idea to become familiar with the style of the test.  There may be questions that many children find more challenging.  These are included to extend the brighter children and for the schools to discover the budding geniuses amongst their candidates!

Following the test, parents/carers will receive a guidance letter to advise, based upon the test marks, which of Torbay's selective schools may or may not be able to offer their child a place should they apply for one.  This letter offers guidance only and does not constitute an offer of a place at any of the schools: parents/carers should use this guidance to decide which schools they wish to apply for a place at and make their application to Torbay Council by 31 October.  More information about applying for school places is on the 'Applying for a place: Year 6 into Year 7' section of this website.


Key dates for the 11+ for entry into secondary school in September 2019:
  • Registration deadline: Friday 7 September 2018
  • 11+ test: Saturday 15 September 2018
  • Submission of special considerations: Friday 28 September 2018
  • Guidance letters sent: Thursday 18 October 2018