Are you considering sending your child to one of the Bexley grammar schools? Every year, more than five thousand children sit the Bexley Selection Test so at least that many parents are aware of them. But the 11 Plus can be a bit of mystery if you don’t know what it is; don’t know anyone who has put their child through it; or don’t know what’s required to help your child pass the test.
Bexley grammar schools
There are four grammar schools in Bexley:
- Bexley Grammar School (Mixed)
- Beths Grammar School (Boys)
- Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School (Mixed)
- Townley Grammar School (Girls)
In order to make it into any of these schools, children need to sit the Bexley Selection Test, which covers:
- Verbal ability: covering vocabulary, comprehension and verbal reasoning. Verbal reasoning is not part of the national curriculum, so your child will need to be taught a good portion of it, which is where the expertise of an experienced 11 Plus tutor can be extremely beneficial.
- Numerical reasoning: mathematical problem-solving, which Bexley Council says covers up to and including Year 5 level.
- Non-verbal reasoning: this paper tests a child’s ability to see how objects relate to each other and to make logical deductions. Non verbal reasoning is largely an extension of maths topics including symmetry, rotation, reflection etc, but there is a little more to it. Again, non-verbal reasoning is not part of the National Curriculum, but at Geek School, we teach children the necessary techniques to master non-verbal reasoning.
There are two test papers during the Bexley selection tests, each containing mainly multiple choice questions that relate to all of these areas. Each paper lasts about 50 minutes, and is broken down into sections, each of which has an allocated amount of time. Children take both papers on the same day, with a break of 30 minutes in between.
What is the 11 Plus pass mark?
It is worth knowing that the pass mark for selection tests is not 50%. Instead, test scores are weighted to that 50% of their overall score is for verbal ability, and 25% each for numerical and non-verbal reasoning. The results are also standardised, which means they are adapted to take into account your child’s exact age. So, children who are the youngest in class will have that considered in their score with a slight adjustment in their scores.
The highest possible score is 280 and the mark children need to attain fluctuates every year, but is usually around the 214 to 216 mark. Every year, the Bexley Selection Panel decides what the threshold mark to be considered selective (i.e. the pass mark) should be that year.
As there are currently 800 places in total in the Bexley grammar schools mentioned before and 5,000-plus children writing the test, just passing will obviously not guarantee an offer of a place at one of the schools. In 2016, 1753 children achieved the selective score (i.e. 216 and above. As you can see, there were far more children who ‘passed’ than there are grammar school places, and in this case, each school allocates places according to their oversubscription criteria. In most cases, the deciding factor is how close the child lived to the school.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. One way to guarantee your child gets an offer of a place at one of the Bexley grammar schools is for your child to be one of the top 180 scorers. If your child achieves this, they will be guaranteed their grammar school of choice.
When to register your child for the Bexley Test
Registration for grammar school selection tests usually open in May or June (every borough sets their own schedule) and closing dates vary, but are usually in early July. Children are registered for the exam when they are in Year 5 – not Year 6, ready to sit the exam in the first or second week in September of Year 6.