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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, which 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 for a place in 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 has the relevant information in order to consider the application in accordance with their admission policy.

Children must be registered 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 from the bottom of this page.  The deadline for registration to take the 11+ tests is detailed on the registration form*.  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 11+ test for entry into Year 7 in September 2025 will take place on Saturday 14 September 2024.

The 11+ test consists of two papers designed by an external assessment authority (GL) in English and Maths.

The free GL familiarisation material tells you what you need to know about this test, and gives you some sample questions. You only need to look at the material for English and Maths as they are the only two elements that are included in the test. 

GL 11+ practice packs may be purchased either directly from GL ( or from other retailers.  Remember, only English and Maths are included in the 11+ tests in Torbay.

There is no threshold score that has to be achieved in each skill tested as the overall score will be used to rank the results.  The raw scores will be converted to age-standardised scores by taking account of each child's age in months.

All the tests are set to reflect what has been taught in primary schools according to the National Curriculum for Year 5.  Students are not expected to have studied any additional material for their 11+ examinations other than familiarise themselves with the style of questions in the GL papers using the familiarisation material suppled by GL (via the link above).

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. 

* Please note:

So that parents can have a good idea whether an application for a selective school place would be successful, candidates are able to sit the selection tests before the closing date for applications. This is called Testing before Preference.  It means you must register your child to sit the tests by midday on 5 September 2024, using the 11+ registration form at the bottom of this page.

Registrations after this deadline will only be accepted for testing for the first round of allocations in exceptional circumstances, which must be evidenced, such as a bereavement of an immediate family member or a move to the area from outside of Torbay or Devon.

The tests themselves will take place on 14 September 2024. Registration for the tests does not count as an application.  A common application form must also be submitted to the local authority where the child lives by 31 October 2024. 

However, where a parent names the School on a Common Application Form but the child has not been registered on time, (midday on 5 September) and there are no exceptional circumstances for this, there can be no offer of a place as there will not be a test score.  

All registrations received after midday on 5 September 2024, where there are no exceptional circumstances, will be eligible  for late testing in March 2025, after the initial round of allocations.  It is likely that late tested candidates will be considered for a place on the waiting list; applications for late tested candidates will not be considered before those for whom both registration for the test and an application was received on time.

More information about applying for school places, including important dates, is on the 'Year 6- 7 Admissions' section of this website and our Admissions Policy can be found on the 'Policies' page.