The Trafford grammar schools' entrance tests (11+) explained

Trafford 11+ guide for parents
If your child is applying for a place at one of Trafford's grammar schools, we have the facts you need to know about the 11+ test.
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Some of the schools have their own entrance exam (Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Loreto Grammar School, St Ambrose College). If your child wants to apply for a place at more than one of the grammar schools, they will have to take a different test for each school.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Sale Grammar School, Stretford Grammar School and Urmston Grammar School are known as the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium (TGSCC); they share a test which is set by CEM.

What do the tests involve?

Although some of the schools have their own entrance exams, they cover similar areas. The table below summarises the content of the tests, but you should visit the individual website for more details, including the format and duration of the tests.  
SchoolSkills tested
Altrincham BoysVerbal reasoning (VR), non-verbal reasoning (NVR), maths
Altrincham GirlsVR, NVR, maths
Loreto GrammarVR, English, maths, creative writing
Sale GrammarVR, NVR, maths
St AmbroseVR, arithmetic, English
Stretford GrammarVR, NVR, maths
Urmston GrammarVR, NVR, maths

What version of the test is used?

Sale is the only grammar school in the area that uses tests provided by CEM at the University of Durham. The other six schools use GL Assessment tests, alongside internally written papers in some cases. You can find out further information about testing arrangements by contacting each school. 

How do you arrange for your child to take the test?

If you wish your child to take the entrance exam for any of the seven Trafford Grammar Schools, you must apply to the relevant school. Each school has different registration deadlines and the entrance tests vary so it’s really important you check the Admissions section on each of the school’s websites to make sure you're aware of the relevant dates and requirements. In addition to registering your child for the entrance exam, you also need to complete the Common Application Form (CAF) for your local authority, which is where you will state your secondary school preferences. 

Where are the tests held?

The entrance exams are held at the individual schools.

What is the pass mark?

The pass mark varies from school to school in the Trafford area and, in some cases, from year to year.

Bear in mind that passing the entrance test doesn't guarantee your child a place: if there are more qualifying children than places, the schools will use their own admissions criteria to make offers. These could include proximity to the school, baptism and siblings already attending the school.

How can I help prepare my child?

Most of the Trafford schools offer practice materials and familiarisation tests for parents to either buy or download from their website.

GL Assessment, which produces papers for Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Loreto Grammar School and St Ambrose College, also publishes an official range of practice papers and support books, which are available to buy online.

CEM, which provides the test for the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium, doesn't release past or practice papers, but emphasises that children can best prepare by reading widely, using maths in everyday life, and developing good study habits.

Please note that while every effort has been made to ensure this information is accurate, the admissions arrangements for Year 7 entry change regularly and it is essential to check for the most up-to-date advice on schools' own websites.