The Hertfordshire Consortium 11+ test explained
Which schools require an 11+ pass?
Although Hertfordshire no longer has any fully selective grammar schools, there are several partially selective schools, which allocate a number of places to children based on their 11+ results. These schools are all high-performing, and there is intense competition for places.
There are seven partially selective schools in South-West Hertfordshire which administer their 11+ test as a Consortium, although each still has different criteria for admissions. These include:
- Bushey Meads School (Mixed)
- Parmiter’s School (Mixed)
- Queen’s School Bushey (Mixed)
- Rickmansworth School (Mixed)
- St Clement Danes School (Mixed)
- Watford Grammar School for Boys
- Watford Grammar School for Girls
In addition, there are a further seven partially selective schools across Hertfordshire which are not part of the Consortium, and administer their own tests. In some cases, these are not academic tests: for example, some schools fill their selective places based on musical or sports aptitude. You will need to contact each school individually to find out about their admission arrangements.
- Dame Alice Owen’s School (Mixed)
- Bishops Stortford High School (Boys)
- Chancellor's School (Mixed)
- Goffs School (Mixed)
- Hertfordshire and Essex High School (Girls)
- Hockerill Anglo-European College (Mixed)
- John Warner School (Mixed)
What do the tests involve?
The Consortium schools allocate a number of places based on academic ability as proven by the 11+ test, but also admit some places based on other skills, such as an aptitude for music, PE or technology. If your child is applying under the academic route, they will have to take two tests with a short break in between them.
- Mathematics test: 50 questions in 50 minutes, based on the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
- Verbal reasoning test: 60 minutes, which includes a 15-minute practice paper, with 100 questions.
Children applying for a music place will sit the Consortium Musical Aptitude Test. This involves 60 questions about pitch, melody, rhythm and texture. Children who perform well in this test are then invited back to audition with their own choice of piece on their instrument or vocally. In addition, a Sports Test is offered by Queen's School and a Technology Test is offered by Bushey Meads School. The Consortium website provides further information about the selection procedure.
If your child is applying for a selective place at one of the county's other schools, you should contact the school directly to find out about their testing procedures.
What version of the test is used?
The tests are prepared specifically for the Consortium.
How do you arrange for your child to take the test?
To register your child to complete the tests for entry to any one of the seven South-West Herts Consortium schools, you need to visit the Consortium website. Registration opens in mid-May and the entrance tests are held in September when your child is in Year 6. Before registering, you must check the individual schools’ admissions criteria to see if your child is eligible for a place there. You must also decide whether you want your child to take the academic or aptitude test, or both.
Where are the tests held?
The tests are held at the Consortium schools. Your child will take the test at their nearest school, not their preferred school, and this can't be changed.
What is the pass mark?
Once the papers have been marked, the scores are converted to an ‘age-standardised score,’ which takes into account your child's age at the time of testing. There is no fixed pass mark for the academic test; selective places are offered according to each of the school’s admission arrangements. However, you can get an idea of whether your child's mark is likely to be high enough to earn them a place by looking at each school’s website, which gives the highest and lowest scores to gain entry in the last three years.
How can I help prepare my child?
Familiarisation papers can be downloaded from the Consortium website. The Consortium does not send out past papers, and nor do the schools themselves.
The Consortium emphasises that while the skills and knowledge required for the mathematics test are covered by the KS2 national curriculum, verbal reasoning is not taught in primary schools, and so parents must take responsibility for preparing their child. They advise that this can be done at home, using commercially available verbal reasoning practice materials.