11 Plus Application

How to Apply For 11 Plus Exam

When applying for the 11 Plus exam, one of the first things parents should be aware of is that each grammar school has its unique registration process and key dates. This means that keeping a close eye on the registration process is critical.

To make sure you don’t miss out, it’s best to regularly check the websites of your child’s preferred grammar schools. They’ll provide you with precise dates and details regarding the registration process. 

And, the significance of timely registration cannot be stressed enough. The competition for places in grammar schools is often tight, and missing the registration deadline could potentially dash your child’s chances of sitting the 11 Plus entrance exam and securing a secondary school placement.

How to Apply to Take 11 Plus

Understanding the nitty-gritty of the 11 Plus application process is one of the most important steps toward securing a place for your child in grammar schools. Here are the steps to take in applying for the 11 Plus.

Direct Application to Chosen Grammar Schools (April-May 2024)

How to Apply For 11 Plus Exam

When April and May roll around, it’s time to take the first step in the 11 Plus application. This involves applying directly to the grammar schools of your choice. Some important things to keep in mind:

Application Form

Each school will have its specific application procedure, and to get started, you can often obtain the necessary application forms from the respective grammar school or consortium’s website. 

These forms provide you with the opportunity to express your interest in your chosen school. It’s a straightforward process, but make sure to pay close attention to the instructions and deadlines provided by the school or consortium.

Supplementary Information Form (SIF)

Some grammar or private schools may require parents to fill out a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) as part of the application process to gather additional information about their child.

For example, faith schools, like certain Catholic schools require a written declaration from a priest to verify if the child is confirmed. Contact the schools directly to know if an SIF or any additional forms are necessary. 

Admissions Criteria

Each grammar school may have different criteria for admission. Familiarise yourself with these criteria to increase your child’s chances of success. Knowing what the schools are looking for can help you plan effectively and ensure your child is fully prepared for the 11+ exams. 

Catchment Areas

As part of their selection criteria, many grammar schools have preferred catchment areas, or only accept students within their designated catchment or local area. If you’re applying to a school outside of your locality, contact the school early to discuss any special arrangements, such as testing on a different day for out-of-area students.

Multiple Applications

If you’re considering more than one grammar school for your child, you should be prepared to fill out separate application forms for each. This process can seem a bit daunting, but it’s a standard requirement to ensure that your child’s name is in the running for all your preferred choices.

Joint Consortium

Some regions, like grammar schools in Birmingham and West Midlands, operate under joint consortia. In these cases, you might find a more streamlined application process, where you can use a single application for all of the schools you’re applying for in the region, simplifying the process considerably.

End of Registration 

Take note of the application window as they are open for a limited time, typically until June or July, or as specified by each school. Make sure you’re on top of it and submit your applications before the specified cutoff date to ensure your child doesn’t miss out on this crucial opportunity.

Application for Secondary School Places in Your Local Authority (Early September 2024)

How to Apply For 11 Plus Exam

In early September 2024, it’s time to shift your focus towards securing a secondary school place within your local authority. This process involves completing the Common Application Form (CAF).

The Common Application Form (CAF)

The CAF is designed to gather information on your preferred secondary schools, both grammar schools and state schools. It’s important to get this form filled out correctly, as it significantly impacts the school your child may eventually attend.

Order of Preferred Schools 

You’ll need to list your chosen schools in order of your preference. Local authorities often work down the list in allocating the schools in the order you’ve specified. If your first choice isn’t available, don’t worry; your child will still be placed on a waiting list for that school.

Haven’t decided about what specific grammar school to apply to for your child? Consider attending schools’ Open Days to experience the school firsthand, see their culture, meet teachers and students, and get a feel for the atmosphere. Bring your child along to motivate them in this application journey. 

Another essential tip is to have at least one local comprehensive school on your list, just in case your child doesn’t secure a place in their chosen grammar school.

Deadline for School Places Application

The deadline for completing the CAF is typically around October 31, 2024. This date usually comes shortly after the release of the 11 Plus exam results, which tend to be posted in mid-October. 

When Can You Apply for the 11 Plus Exam?

The opening and closing dates for registration can vary widely among schools, adding an element of complexity to the process. But almost all of these schools operate on the same timeline. 

Many grammar schools will initiate their 11 Plus registration process during April and May. Parents can then start secondary school applications for their children for the upcoming academic year. 

Some areas like Buckinghamshire follow an opt-out system, where primary children are automatically entered for the 11+ exam unless parents actively withdraw their child from the process.

The registration deadline for each child’s school may also vary, falling anywhere between June, July, or August.

When to Apply for the 11 Plus Exam

The 11 Plus application process involves multiple steps, with different deadlines and requirements. Understanding key dates and events such as when to apply for the exam will help you plan effectively for your child’s 11 Plus journey. 

Here’s a rough guide to the 11 Plus registration periods and processes:


In the lead-up to the 11 Plus exam, most grammar schools will start their registration process during April or May. The exact start date may vary among institutions. This is your first opportunity to officially register your child for the 11 Plus exam. And, take note of the registration deadline for each school, which is typically between June and August.

Early September

It’s time to apply for secondary school places. Alongside registering for the 11+ exam, don’t forget to fill out the Common Application Form (CAF) from your Local Authority. This form is just as crucial as the grammar school application. The deadline for filling out this form usually happens one or two weeks after exam results are released.


The 11+ exam typically takes place within the first two weeks of September. Verify the exam date with your chosen institution. Also, be sure to familiarise yourself and your children with the test format and the topics that will be covered.


This is the period when most grammar schools release the results of the 11+ exam. It’s a crucial moment that can determine your child’s future academic path, so be prepared.

End of October

It’s the national deadline to apply for school places. Be sure to submit your applications by this date to secure a place in your preferred grammar school.


Mark your calendar for National Offer Day. On this day, school allocations for the next academic year are officially confirmed.

How to Prepare for Admission and the 11 Plus Exam

11 Plus Prepare for Admission

The 11 Plus entrance exam serves as the gateway to grammar schools, which primarily cater to students aged 11 and beyond. The foundation for 11 Plus preparation often begins in the child’s primary school where primary school teachers help a child develop essential skills in English and Maths, as well as verbal reasoning. They lay the groundwork for a successful transition into secondary education.

In the UK, grammar schools are state-funded secondary institutions (they do not charge fees) with a keen focus on academic achievement. These schools aim to nurture students’ intellectual capabilities, and they do so by employing a rigorous selection process such as the 11-Plus, a multi-faceted assessment that evaluates a student’s skills in Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics, and English. 

Private schools, also known as independent schools, share some similarities with grammar schools in terms of academic focus and expectations and they accept students based on their academic abilities. However, private schools typically start at the age of 13, making it essential for students to find a transition school between primary and private education. 

Each type of school has its unique approach to admissions. Make sure you follow the specific guidelines provided by your chosen schools and local authorities. Timely registration and thorough preparation are key factors in ensuring your child’s success in this exciting educational journey.

Start preparing early and keep a close eye on those important admission criteria, dates, and test components. Stay organised and ensure that you meet all the application deadlines to give your child the best chance at securing a place in their preferred school.

Master the 11 Plus

A unique, confidence-boosting way to study for the 11 Plus