11 + Frequently Asked Questions

What practice books could I use?



11+ Practice Papers Non-Verbal Reasoning Pack 1 (Multiple Choice)
11+ Practice Papers Non-Verbal Reasoning Pack 2 (Multiple Choice)
Text11+ Practice Papers Non-Verbal Reasoning Pack 3 (Multiple Choice)
11+ Practice Papers Verbal Reasoning Pack 1 (Multiple Choice)
11+ Practice Papers Verbal Reasoning Pack 2 (Multiple Choice)
11+ Practice Papers Verbal Reasoning Pack 3 (Multiple Choice)
11+ Practice Papers Bundle of All Verbal 11+ Practice Packs (3 Packs)
11+ Practice Papers Bundle of All Non Verbal 11+ Practice Packs (3 Packs)

Should I enter my son for the test?

The short answer to this one is…yes. As in all maintained schools, education at Boston Grammar school is free and delivered by fully-qualified professionals, so applying to this school is no different to applying anywhere else. Our school is not ‘elitist’ in any way – it simply takes in pupils from all walks of life who can demonstrate that they have a high level of ability and would benefit from an academic education. There is nothing to be lost by taking the tests, as, for most pupils, they are taken with his classmates at his primary school, where he will feel at ease.

How will I know if he is likely to pass?

There is no guarantee that any applicant will ‘pass’ the 11+ test. The test is norm-referenced, so it aims to take the top 25% of each cohort. That means that there isn’t a set level of ability needed…he simply needs to do better than other pupils in his year group! As an indication, if he is currently getting Level 4s and 5s at primary school, then he is likely to do well in the tests, though there is not a direct correlation between the tests and Key Stage 2 scores.

What sorts of things are tested?

There are two papers: a Verbal Reasoning paper and a Non-Verbal Reasoning paper. We send practice papers to your son’s primary school, so he should have had a go at one already. We also run 11+ Familiarisation Sessions for those pupils and parents wanting to look at the kinds of questions that come up year-on-year. The papers require pupils to think laterally, look for codes and patterns, and apply their knowledge of symmetry, rotation, word construction and vocabulary. Neither paper will test ‘memory’ of primary school curriculum learning, so there is nothing that a candidate can ‘revise’ before the test….these are cognitive skills application papers.

Do I need to have registered him for the tests?

Yes, you do. You will appreciate that it is quite a complex exercise to organise testing for all of the children in the primary schools in the catchment areas of the two grammar schools in the town, so we do need people to register for the tests to give us accurate numbers. So, if you haven’t registered yet, simply return your postal form, register online or collect a registration form at the Open Evening, fill it in and get it back to us.

Will he have to come to Boston Grammar School to take the tests?

We prefer to test boys in their own primary school classrooms on two Fridays in September, when they are surrounded by their friends and feel most at ease with being under exam conditions. Most candidates take the tests this way. However, for a small number of pupils from out of the local area, we also run testing sessions the following Saturday mornings at Boston Grammar School.

When do we get the results of the test?

YWe will be posting out the outcomes of the 11+ procedure in early October, so you do not have to wait long to know if your son has achieved the required standard. In that letter, we will clarify the options open to you when completing your preference forms for return to the Local Authority (by 31st October).

If he hasn't ‘passed’, is there anything I can do about it?

Yes there is. All parents have the right of appeal against the decision not to admit pupils based on the 11+ test outcomes. Indeed, if you and your son’s primary school teacher(s) feel that your son is of an appropriate ability level to succeed at Boston Grammar School, then you should appeal. That discussion with your son’s primary school should be held when the outcomes are posted to you in October, as you will be nominating Boston Grammar School as your school of choice on your preference form in order to be able to make the appeal later. This does mean that, if unsuccessful at appeal, you will be allocated a school by the Local Authority.

In past years, many pupils have entered Boston Grammar School on appeal and have gone on to achieve excellent GCSE and A Level results and subsequently gone to university. No test can accurately predict the ability levels of all candidates sitting it, and it would be wrong not to take into account what you and your son’s primary school already know about him if he should simply ‘have a bad day’ for the tests, so should he not ‘pass’, then please do exercise your right to appeal. As we have two single-sex grammar schools serving the town, we have not traditionally had the over-subscription problems facing some other grammar schools in the country, so there have been places available for those deemed suitable.

Is appealing for a place a difficult and stressful process?

No. It’s actually quite straightforward. You cannot make an appeal until after the Local Authority has allocated you a place in early March (i.e. a place in another school). At that point, you can contact the Clerk to Governors, c/o Boston Grammar School, South End, Boston, Lincs, PE21 6JY and request appeal papers. For speed, it is quicker to contact the clerk at bgsclerk@bostongrammarschool.co.uk . The appeal papers can also be submitted online for speed and convenience.

Appeal papers ask for some basic information about you and your child, and offer you the chance to make a statement supporting your son’s suitability for grammar school. Most parents then attach copies of primary school reports or supporting evidence of current primary school achievement. Once that is received, the Clerk arranges an appointment with you for a brief meeting with the independent Appeals Panel (usually in May / June), who will ask any questions they have about your son’s circumstances and then make their decision on whether or not he should be admitted.

If it sounds stressful, it really isn’t. Further information about appealing for a school place can be found at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/parents/schools/school-admissions/information-about-schools/faqs/

When will we get an offer of a place?

If your son has ‘passed’ the 11+, you will be formally allocated a place by the Local Authority on 2nd March, and you will then receive our formal offer of the place, posted on 3rd March. You should have accepted the LA’s allocation by 16th March to take up the place.

If you want to turn down the LA’s allocated place or re-apply, you should contact the Admissions Team at the Authority, which usually looks at reapplications in early May. If your son did not pass the test, but you appeal to us for a place and are successful, then the Local Authority will amend the admissions database to show that you are now coming to Boston Grammar School and not the school you were offered on 2nd March.

Doesn't failing the 11+ stigmatise a child for life?

No. As with all things, achievement is relative. Children will do more or less well than others in Key Stage tests, on the sports field, in their GCSEs….some will go on to fail their driving tests first time, while others pass. This is just one measure along the road of life, and there are many. Children mature at different rates, and the 11+ outcome should never be seen as some kind of measure of inherent genius or weakness. It’s simply an aid to establishing what kind of education might best suit a child for the next five years…before we look at it all again at 16.