How is the coronavirus crisis affecting the 11-plus this year?

The coronavirus crisis means that schools are closed and pupils working at home, with little clarity about when this situation will end. This poses unique problems for authorities that operate selective education and grammar school tests. Most 11-plus tests judge English and Maths skills which are taught in year 5, yet we know that many children are having problems with homeschooling. Some children lack laptops and internet connections, some have busy working parents who have no time to help with school work, and we also know that schools are offering inconsistant approaches to learning with some offering video lessons and others no more than paper worksheets. If 11-plus tests go ahead as normal this year we are sure they will be much more unfair than usual.

We are keeping track of grammar schools response to the crisis on this page, monitoring how the 11-plus test will operate in the twelve fully selective counties. At present grammar schools seem to be hoping it is ‘business as usual,’ but surely, even if it is safe to sit the exam, they can not ignore the obvious unfairness caused by some children having limited education in the months before the test? We will update this page when we have more news.


“Parents will be informed closer to the time if any adjustments need to be made to the Kent Test as a result of the recent school closures for the majority of children.”


“At this time we are exploring a range of options with our colleagues at Buckinghamshire Council and GL
Assessment. We are also supporting the Grammar School Heads Association (GSHA) in their discussions with the
Department of Education about what adjustments might need to be made to the usual arrangements at local
and national level to ensure the testing process is completed with due consideration for the current situation.
The discussions are wide-ranging and include the timing of testing, administration considerations, and how to
keep children and staff safe. We do not yet have a date for when plans will be finalised due to the ever
changing nature of the current advice.”


The test dates have been moved back one week. The new dates are as follows:
Friday/Saturday 18/19 September Verbal Reasoning
Friday/Saturday 25/26 September Non-Verbal Reasoning

The current situation with COVID-19 and school closures is obviously disruptive to our 11+ planning. We have
been working closely with GLA, our 11+ provider, to ensure that the 11+ procedure for September 2021 entry
has minimum disruption. Our decision making must be guided by current government advice and so dates may still be subject to
change. Current plans for Linconshire’s practise tests state, “If schools are back and social distancing measures are such that we can go ahead with tests we will do these as usual. However, if schools are still closed or social distancing measures means exams and tests are not possible, these will not go ahead. We are waiting to hear what the government decides regarding schools opening. In the meantime please use the free familiarisation materials available from GLA.”


“At this stage the entrance examination will proceed as expected and therefore we would encourage both parents and children to continue as best they can with their preparations. We realise that the extraordinary circumstances in which we now find ourselves will cause anxiety and uncertainty.  Please rest assured we will do our very best to keep you informed.”


“Please be aware that as it is not certain when schools will reopen, information may be subject to change pending advice from the Government and Public Health England. Please ensure you check the websites of the Slough consortium grammar schools for updates.”

Southend-on Sea (Essex Test)

“Due to the ongoing pandemic the CSSE will be guided by ongoing government advice. ”


“The SET consortium’s current view is to assume the SET for entry in September 2021 will go ahead as advertised, but please do watch this space.”


“Published assessment dates are currently intended to go ahead as planned. However, changes might be needed in order to comply with Public Health England guidance, including social distancing. We are waiting for further guidance from the Department for Education. If there are any changes to the arrangements parents will be notified as soon as possible.”


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