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Applying for a place: Year 6 into Year 7

Transfer from Primary to Secondary School

The transfer from Primary to Secondary School is co-ordinated by Torbay Local Authority.  You can find all the information you need at // by following the links to Education and Learning, Schools then Admission and Transfers.

If your child attends a primary school in Torbay, you will receive a letter directly from Torbay Council with login information that will enable you to complete an online application.  The local authority distribute a booklet, known as TIPS1, via Torbay primary schools towards the end of Year 5 which contains information about all of the secondary schools in Torbay and a paper version of the application form.  The TIPS1 booklet is also available on Torbay Council’s website.

You will be able to apply for a secondary school place between 1 September and 31 October of the year that your child is in Year 6.  Applications received after 31 October will not be considered until places have been allocated to children whose applications were received on time.  This may mean that your child does not get a place at a school that would have been able to offer a place if the application was received on time, so it is very important that you keep to the deadline.  The online system is the best way to ensure that your application is submitted, as you will receive emailed confirmation of your application.  Once you have registered with the online system you can log in and change your application up until the closing date.  You can apply for a place at up to three schools; these choices are referred to as ‘preferences’.

The 11+ and Selective (Grammar) Places at The Spires College

The Spires College is one of only five Bilateral Schools in the UK.  Bilateral schools have a limited number of places for students who have achieved selective standard when taking the 11+ exam, alongside the majority of the student population who take up mainstream (non-selective) places. Generally, we are able to offer selective places to students from a wider geographical area than our non-selective students. This is because the number of students reaching selective standard and therefore gaining a selective place, is less than those who apply for a non-selective place.  If you wish to apply for a selective place at any of the selective schools in Torbay, please ensure that you register for the 11+ test by the deadline, as the test papers are prepared in advance.

The 11+ exam takes place in September each year and all of the selective schools in Torbay have exactly the same test at exactly the same time.   Torquay Boys and Girls Grammar Schools, Churston Ferrers Grammar School and The Spires College collaborate in the organisation and administration of the test.  It does not matter at which Torbay school your child takes the test, as the results are shared between the schools.   Registering for and taking the 11+ test is not an application for a place at a school.  About two weeks before the closing date for applications, parents of children who have taken the 11+ test will receive a guidance letter showing which of the four selective schools are likely to be able to offer their child a place, based on the results of the test.  This does not guarantee a place at any of the schools, as, at this stage, no one can know how many applications each school will receive.  You should use this guidance to decide which schools to apply to when submitting your application to Torbay Council.  If you wish one of your choices to be for a selective place at The Spires College you will need to indicate this on the application that you submit to Torbay Council.  Unfortunately, there are no software packages available that cater for applications to bilateral schools, because there are so few.  The ICT department at Torbay Council have adjusted their application package so that applicants can indicate that they would like to be considered for a selective place at The Spires College, but you may need to pay close attention to ensure that you have done so.  You do not need to put The Spires College as two of your three choices as, if your child is unsuccessful in gaining a selective place following the 11+ test, we will automatically treat your application as one for a non-selective place.

Notification of Secondary School Allocation

If you apply online you will receive an email from Torbay Council, to tell you which school your child has been allocated, on national allocation day, which is 1 March (or, if it falls on a weekend, the first working day after 1 March).  This is followed the next day by a letter to all applicants from Torbay Council and then one from the school to which your child has been allocated. 

Because of the software issues explained above, the initial emails and letters from Torbay Council will not specify if an allocation at The Spires College is for a selective or non-selective place; the software package simply will not allow for two different kinds of application at one school.  Unfortunately, we cannot overcome this issue with the email notification.  However, The Spires College works closely with the School Admissions team to ensure that, if a selective place has been allocated, a letter from The Spires College specifying this is enclosed with the one that is sent by Torbay Council.  The letter that is sent directly from The Spires College on the day after national allocation day will also specify if the place is selective or non-selective.  There will also be a registration form enclosed, which should be completed and returned by the specified deadline.  We usually allow about two weeks for the registration forms to be returned, as we need to begin preparations for the children to transfer, such as liaison with their primary schools, etc.

Any queries can be made by email to or via the main school telephone number.


Primary to Secondary School Admissions on the Torbay Local Authority website.

For more information about School Admission arrangements please visit the following page: 

Waiting Lists and Appeals

This information is relevant for both Primary to Secondary and in-year transfers.

If we are oversubscribed in a year group and we cannot offer a place upon receipt of an application, we keep a waiting list of children who would like to attend the college.  Any vacancies that arise due to students leaving the school, or deciding not to take a place offered, are filled from the top of the waiting list.  The order of priority for our waiting lists can be found in our Admissions Policy.  The Admission Policy has 11 pages so please consider this before printing.

If we cannot offer a place there is an appeal process for parents or carers of children on the waiting list to follow should they wish to.  Appeals for school places are arranged by Democratic Services at Torquay Town Hall and are heard by an independent panel.  Details of the appeals process can be found on the Torbay Local Authority website.