Applying for a grammar school in Gloucestershire is a two-stage process. You first register to take the 11+ test and then, after the results are released, apply for your preferred schools in Gloucestershire. It is essential that you send all the information by the relevant deadlines to make the process as stress free as possible.
Do Your Homework
To be as well-informed as possible about all the potential schools you need to do research to decide which schools to consider for your child. Look online, read parents’ forums, talk to those that have children in school, read OFSTED reports and visit the school.
Be realistic about your expectations from your child and the school. It is a fact that not all those that apply for grammar school will get a place, so make sure you have a Plan B in place should you need to make alternative arrangements.
Registering to Sit the Grammar School Entrance Test (11+)
If there is any chance at all that you would like your child to go to grammar school in Gloucestershire, you must register them to sit the test. This ensures they will be able to take the 11+ in September with all other children that want to be considered. You can go to the website of any of the Gloucestershire grammar schools to complete the form, either online or in paper format. You do not need to live in Gloucestershire to do this.
Registration for the test is online and usually opens at the start of June. Our advice is to put all possible grammar schools down on the form which your son or daughter could go to. There is no penalty in putting them all on the list and the few seconds you spend doing this may well be fruitful later on. We have spoken to many parents on results day, wishing they had put one of the ‘lower-ranked’ schools on their list because they would much prefer that to their local comprehensive school.
The school at the top of your list is the one where you wish to sit the test, NOT necessarily your preferred school. This registration procedure merely indicates all the schools you want to consider for your child, so the first school in the list can be the grammar school closest to where you live, or is the most convenient for you to visit on the test day. Please note that Pates is often oversubscribed, so if you put them first on your list you may be allocated another school to sit the test. Please note that you score will still be shared with Pates and there is no disadvantage sitting the test at another school.
It is crucial that you complete and submit this form by the deadline (usually the end of June). If you fail to complete the form on time you will need to apply later in the year, (usually around March), and take the test as a late entry Whilst this isn’t a disaster, having the test and forms completed sooner rather than later takes a lot of stress out of the application process. It also gives you valuable information before you fill out your school application form, called the Common Application Form (CAF), in October.
The results from the entrance test are generally released around three weeks after the test on a Friday. In recent years the schools have been emailing results directly to parents in the morning, leading to a sometimes-nervous day of waiting to tell your child the result when they get back from school.
It’s always going to be very nerve-wracking when you open the email to discover the score and rank of your child. It is a good idea to understand in advance what information these emails contain so you are not confused and can identify whether your child is likely to be allocated a place in each of your chosen grammar schools.
Scores and Schools
Each grammar school has 150 places available for Year 7 entry. This brings the total number of places to 1,050, which is a 31% increase from 2012 (800 places). However, the number of children taking the 11+ exam has also been increasing. When you receive your child’s results, you can get a good idea of which school they will qualify for based on the historical record of what ranking has previously resulted in an offer of a place at a particular school.
Considering the Test Results
You should receive the results by email from each of the schools, separately. At this stage you should be in one of four situations:
Confident that the rank obtained will get you into your preferred grammar school
Unsure about your preferred grammar school, but confident that your child will secure a place at one of the other grammar schools
Have qualifying scores but unsure if this is high enough to secure a place at a grammar school.
Not have a qualifying score at any of the grammar schools.
You have a number of options depending on which of these situations you are in:
If you are in the top 150 rank for your preferred school, make sure you put it top of the list when you apply for schools on the Common Application Form (CAF).
If your child has achieved a qualifying score, put your preferred grammar school first, followed by each of the other grammar schools you would like followed by a comprehensive school where you are in the catchment area.
Put grammar schools in your order of preference but with the expectation you may have to go to appeal if you are not offered a place. Put your preferred comprehensive school(s) after these.
You could consider an appeal, but you should not put grammar schools on the school application form as they will not be taken into account. Put your preferred non grammar schools in order and consider going for an appeal if circumstances allow.
Unless you are very confident of a grammar school place (Option 1 above) you should name a comprehensive school on your form unless you are certain you will choose an independent school if a grammar school place is not available.
If you or your child have attended one of Cotswold Education’s events during the academic year leading up to the results you will be offered a free telephone or in person consultation with one of us. This will help you understand your options and what you should do next.
Completing the Common Application Form
If you submitted the grammar school entrance test on time you will have the test results from the grammar schools before you fill out the Common Application Form (CAF), but whatever your situation you must complete and submit this form by the deadline, which is usually the end of October, prior to the academic year you are applying for.
It is important to remember that when you fill out the form you are giving your order of preference and therefore technically not choosing which school your child will attend. The distinction may seem minor, but it means that the decision of school allocation is not with the parents. There is simply a preference which will be taken into account when places are allocated.
How to Rank the Schools on the Common Application Form
The CAF allows you to rank up to five schools in order of preference. The GCC Admissions Team will consider your preferences with equal weighting. This is the so-called Equal Preference System. The local authority or school is no longer allowed, by law, to give preference for those that have given a higher rank to a particular school. In many ways this is a good thing, since you don’t have to worry that if you haven’t put a particular school first you won’t be considered.
If your school preference is still a grammar school, you must put this first on your form. Then put your preferences in order. Most people will put their other preferred grammar schools next followed by their local comprehensive. It’s important to have at least one comprehensive school listed on your form to try and avoid being allocated a school you are not in favour of.
There is no point in listing a grammar school where your child did not reach the qualifying score, as this will not be considered. Note that this does not preclude you from lodging an appeal after Allocation Day, so keep this in reserve, if necessary.
Once you have completed your form remember to submit it! The deadline is the end of October but it’s best not to leave it to the last minute. Now you just have to wait for Allocation Day the following March.
We run a parent/carer information evening on how to complete the Common Application Form so if you have any questions about the above, keep an eye out on results day.
Allocation Day is usually on 1st March (unless it falls on a weekend) and is the day when you hear which school your child has been allocated. If it is the school you had put first on your preference list you just need to accept this place, reject the others and make sure you do this by the deadline, which is generally only a week later.
It is worth repeating the importance of rejecting all the other schools if you have been allocated your preferred school. If you accept your preferred school and ask to go on the waiting list of any other school, you may lose your first choice and be allocated you ‘waiting list’ school. It may then take a lot of time and effort to be reallocated your preferred choice.
If your allocated school is not your first preference, it’s important you take the right steps to maximise your chances of getting your most preferred school. You should accept the school offered to you but indicate on the form that you want to go on the waiting list for your most preferred school. This means you will be given a place at this school should a place become available and you fulfil the admissions criteria.
Take care NOT to reject your allocated school since it means you will lose this place and could be allocated another school not on your preference list.
Re- Allocation Day
Your final(ish) school place will be given to you at the end of March after some movement of students between schools based on the responses to Allocation Day. You may have been allocated a comprehensive school and chosen to go on the waiting list for a grammar school. It is possible some children will be removed from the grammar school list as they could move out of the area or choose another school and in this case, you could lose your comprehensive place but be offered your preferred grammar school.
Even if you still have not been allocated your first-choice school you can remain on the waiting list throughout the summer right up until school starts in September. We know of someone who gave up hoping for a grammar school place and bought uniform for their allocated comprehensive school. They were very pleased to later be allocated their grammar school place but were left with a set of school uniform to try and dispose of!
Thus, the message is never give up, and even then, a few students will secure places after the year has started or in subsequent school years.