How to get into grammar school

Our tips on how to get your child into a grammar school.

Grammar schools have long been a desirable option for many parents and guardians looking to provide their children with a high-quality education. These schools are known for their academic excellence and rigorous entrance requirements. 

Let’s take a look at how to get into grammar school, from valuable tips to navigating the process of getting your child into a grammar school.

What is a grammar school?

A grammar school is a type of secondary school in the UK that selects its students based on academic ability. Here are some key points to understand about grammar schools:

  • Selective admission: Students must pass an entrance exam, typically known as the 11 Plus, to gain admission.

  • Academic focus: These schools often emphasise a strong academic curriculum, particularly in subjects like English, mathematics, and the sciences.

  • State-funded: Most grammar schools are funded by the government and do not charge tuition fees, although some private grammar schools do exist.

Grammar schools aim to provide a challenging and enriching education to academically gifted students, preparing them for higher education and their future careers.

What is a voluntary grammar school?

A voluntary grammar school is similar to a regular grammar school but is often associated with a religious organisation. While they maintain the same academic standards and selective admission process, they may also include religious education as part of their curriculum.

What is the difference between a grammar school and a comprehensive school?

The main difference lies in the selection process:

  • Grammar schools: Select students based on academic ability through entrance exams.

  • Comprehensive schools: Accept students regardless of academic ability, providing a more inclusive education for all children in the community.

Is grammar school free?


Grammar schools usually don’t have tuition fees as they’re state-funded schools. That means that grammar schools are accessible to any child who shows academic promise, regardless of family income. 

However, it's important to note that some private grammar schools do exist, and these institutions do charge fees. So be sure to check whether or not the school you’re interested in is a private grammar school.

Are grammar schools better?

Many parents and guardians consider grammar schools to be an excellent option for their children due to several advantages:

  • High academic standards: Grammar schools often achieve excellent exam results.

  • Focused learning environment: These schools provide an environment that nurtures academic talent.

  • Strong preparation for higher education: Grammar school students are well-prepared for university and future careers.

  • Extracurricular opportunities: Many grammar schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, enhancing the overall educational experience.

Overall, grammar schools can offer a high-quality education that benefits students academically and can encourage the development of strong social and life skills that will stick with them after graduation.

Grammar school entrance exams

To gain admission to a grammar school, students must typically pass an entrance exam, namely the 11 Plus exam. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

  • Research: Identify the grammar schools you are interested in and understand their specific entrance requirements.

  • Registration: Register your child for the 11 Plus exam, usually through the school or local education authority.

  • Preparation: Utilise resources such as practice papers, tutoring, and study guides to prepare for the exam.

  • Exam day: Ensure your child is well-rested and prepared on the day of the exam.

  • Results: After the exam, results are usually sent to parents and guardians, indicating whether the child has secured a place.

If you’re looking for advice on exam preparation, be sure to read our guide on how to support your child with exam preparation. You may also be interested to read about the top 5 benefits of tuition for the 11 Plus.

How to apply for grammar schools

Applying for a grammar school can seem like a daunting process, but with the right approach and preparation, it can be manageable and straightforward. 

It's important to start early and stay organised to ensure you meet all the necessary deadlines and requirements. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the application process:

  1. Research schools: Begin by researching the grammar schools in your area and their specific application deadlines. Look into each school's ethos, curriculum, and extracurricular offerings to find the best fit for your child.

  2. Visit schools: Attend open days and school visits to get a feel for the environment and ask any questions you may have. This will also give your child a chance to experience the school atmosphere.

  3. Register for exams: Ensure your child is registered for the 11 Plus exam or any other required entrance tests. Check each school’s registration process, as it can vary.

  4. Submit applications: Complete and submit application forms as required by the schools. This may include providing academic records, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

  5. Prepare for exams: Help your child prepare for the entrance exams through consistent study and possibly engaging a tutor. Practice papers and study guides can be very useful.

  6. Attend interviews: If required, prepare your child for any interviews or additional assessments. Encourage them to be confident and articulate about their interests and achievements.

With careful planning and support, the application process can lead your child to a successful placement in a grammar school. It also helps to have the right support in place for your grammar school journey:

A Helping Hand with Grammar School from Explore Learning

At Explore Learning, we understand the challenges parents and guardians face when preparing their children for grammar school. Our experienced tutors and centre managers possess extensive local knowledge about schools in the area and can provide tailored advice and support. 

With our expert tuition and smart learning tool, we can help your child focus on the areas they need to improve. We can also help them with preparing for tests, giving them the best chance of success in their grammar school entrance exams.

If you want to learn more about how we can support your child for their grammar school entrance exams, read more about our: 

To experience the boost our tuition can provide, why not book a free trial with Explore Learning today? We’ll help your child reach their full potential so they have the best chance of achieving their dreams of attending a grammar school.

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