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11+ Information

Latest 11+ Information

Grammar schools are still waiting further guidance to be published by the Department for Education (DfE) regarding selective school testing this autumn.  As always, our testing arrangements, along with those of other grammar schools, have to be in-line with these requirements.  Given the situation at present, we feel that there is a strong case in favour of allowing the new Year 6 children more time back in a normal school setting, before sitting the 11+ test.  Provisionally, we are therefore planning to hold this year’s testing later than previously published and have made an application for this change to be approved by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA). 

Subject to DfE confirmation, we are therefore provisionally planning to hold the test on Saturday 17 October.  Children will be required to sit the tests on the new date to ensure that he/she is considered for a selective place at the college.  If this plan conforms with the awaited DfE guidance, further details regarding the new arrangements will be sent out as soon as possible.

In the meantime, please reassure your child that the tests are based on reasoning skills, not topic based knowledge.  However, if you have not already looked at the test familiarisation material, it is available via the following link: Familiarisation booklet for 2021 entry   We recommend that you go through the familiarisation material with your child before the test day.  Understanding how the answer sheet is completed and getting used to the idea of working under time constraints will help to reassure your child in preparation for the test.

For disadvantaged children, there is an enhanced familiarisation on-line programme created by FROG Media; information on how to access this will be sent to all those who are eligible for Pupil Premium/FSM.



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 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 foot 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 is a familiarisation booklet available at the foot of this page.  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 and our Admissions Policy can be found on the 'Policies' page.

There is additional information on the fact sheet below:


11+ registration form for 2021 entry

Familiarisation booklet for 2021 entry

*due to the delay in the test date, the guidance may not be available until after the deadline for applications.  There is contingency being planned for this, which will be shared as soon as possible.


Key dates for the 11+ for entry into secondary school in September 2021:
  • Registration deadline: Midday on Wednesday 9 September 2020
  • 11+ test: TBC due to the Covid-19 situation - provisional date: Saturday 17 October
  • Submission of special considerations: TBC
  • Guidance letters sent: TBC