Express & Star

Major changes in grammar schools entrance system will mean a single exam day

Children hoping to win a place at grammar schools in the region next year will only need to sit a single test following major changes in the entrance system.


Tens of thousands of families register 11-year-olds for the annual exam at sites including Wolverhampton, Walsall, Shropshire and Birmingham with a significant number sitting multiple tests with multiple test providers at oversubscribed schools.

The West Midlands Grammar Schools’ partnership has been set up to address management of the admission procedure as the popularity of grammar schools in the area and surrounding counties has continued to grow in recent years. The move follows the departure of exam board Cambridge CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring) from the 11-plus programme.

As a result the schools are now using the same test provider, GL Assessment. Among the changes from September next year will be one test on the same date for all children, aimed to reduce stress for the young candidates. There will no longer be any need for pupils to sit multiple tests over different weekends.

The entrance test day will be on September 16 this year or within an agreed testing window on September 18 for some schools only. With parental consent candidates’ tests scores will be shared between all the partnership schools.

The partnership stated: "Dates and key processes have been aligned and all applications will be directed to one centralised application portal opening at 9am on May 9, 2023. Parents will be asked to enter their home postcode and their child’s gender and will then be directed to the relevant website to register their child for the entrance test. Children will be tested at their local test centre and will be eligible to apply for any of the schools in the group.

"There will no longer be a need to sit tests at every school of interest. Following the notification of test scores in October, the parents will be able to list their schools of interest on the Local Authority Preference Form.

"Results will be released throughout the West Midlands Grammar Schools’ partnership using an age weighted standardisation around a median score of 200 and further details will be made available on individual school websites in due course.

"This will mean a change for those grammar schools in Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton who previously used a median score of 300. The West Midlands Grammar Schools’ partnership will provide a much-improved entrance test process for all children."

The West Midlands Grammar School Partnership includes:

  • Queen Mary's High School, Walsall

  • Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall

  • Wolverhampton Girls’ High School

  • Newport Girls’ High School, Shropshire

  • Haberdashers Adams, Newport, Shropshire

  • Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield

  • Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls

  • King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys, Birmingham

  • King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls, Birmingham

  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Birmingham

  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Birmingham

  • King Edward VI Five Ways School, Birmingham

  • King Edward VI Aston School, Birmingham