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Eleven Plus Tuition

What is the Eleven Plus Examination?

The Eleven Plus Exam is a test administered by grammar schools in order to determine students most suited to the rigours of grammar school education. In Gloucestershire, students will sit an entrance test provided by GL Assessment. There are 2 multiple choice paper assessing English, Verbal Reasoning, Non-verbal Reasoning and Maths. The way the papers are organised is as follows:

  • Paper One: Verbal Skills - Comprehension, Vocabulary and Verbal Reasoning

  • Paper Two: Maths and Non-verbal Reasoning


Students will be given 45 minutes to complete each paper. Each paper is likely to be divided into two or three individually timed sections.

How Can You Help My Child Prepare?

We don't like to think that we are just preparing children for an exam; we see our role as preparing children for the rigours of grammar school and the step up in level that it will bring. Our experienced Eleven Plus teachers will spend time working on each test area and will focus on the knowledge and understanding required as well as exam techniques. The vast majority of our time is spent on raising achievement, attainment and confidence in English and Maths since these are the most vital core skills to enable a child to progress comfortably up to grammar school. They are also the skills which are going to be tested. Mock exams graduating in difficulty are provided and students will receive supportive feedback and individual targets to aid improvement. Our tuition takes place throughout year 5 and follows a stepped programme of learning to help provide your child with the knowledge and understanding required as well as exam techniques.


Our stepped programme of learning takes the following format:

  • Year Round - Initial Assessment

  • September to December - Developing Knowledge and Understanding; Improving Literacy and Vocabulary Skills; Verbal Reasoning; Enhancing Mental and Written Maths Strategies; Applying Maths Skills to Problem Solving Questions; Introducing Non-verbal Reasoning

  • January to April - Familiarisation to Question Types and Timing; Continued Development of Core Skills; Strengthening and Stretching English and Maths Knowledge; Continued Vocabulary Development; Developing Non-verbal Reasoning Strategies

  • May to July - Progressive Mock Exam Papers; Exam Techniques and Shortcuts; Continued Development of Core Skills in English and Maths; Continued Vocabulary Development; Reinforcing Non-verbal Reasoning Strategies

  • August to September - Full Mock Exams; Exam Techniques; Revision


Our progressive approach will help to minimise the pressure on your child and gradually build confidence during what can be a stressful time. We have excellent results in relation to children passing the test and achieving a place at grammar school, but regardless of passing or failing the exam, all children who attend these sessions will see a profound change in their ability and confidence in English and Maths, and this will benefit them tremendously on whatever path they decide to follow. Should you wish to find out more and book an initial assessment then please do get in touch using the details below. 

What resources do you use?

We use a wide range of teaching and learning resources to enhance the experience and learning opportunities for our students. These include:

  • Fully qualified, experienced teachers

  • Challenging paper based resources aligned to 11+ test areas

  • Online suite of activities accessible at home - 1000's of English and Maths games

  • Home access to video resources and lessons which reinforce understanding

  • Mock exam papers which replicate the GL Assessment test

  • Individual targets and activities to support individual needs

  • Rewards and prizes to help motivate students


The initial assessment can take place from the summer before your child is about to start Year 5 or any time during that academic year. We try to keep the assessment as stress-free as possible and do a number of things to minimise stress on children - and parents! We begin with some warm-up games on our computers to help focus your child and settle any nerves. The assessment covers all of the areas that can be tested in the 11+ exam and is split into clear sections, enabling us to provide detailed feedback on specific strengths and areas for development. We take the children through examples of each individual question type, fully explaining what they are being asked to do, and then ask them to complete similar questions. The assessment covers a lot of areas and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete - some children are faster and some are slower but we don't put a time limit on the assessment. It is more important at this stage for us to see your child's ability in each of the core areas without added pressure. We mark the assessment and feedback to you within a couple of days. We will provide open and honest feedback and will discuss your child's score against examples of past assessment scores and their eventual 11+ outcome. We don't have a pass or fail mark but we do have a key indicator mark which is achieved by most children going on to secure their grammar school place. Do note that we say 'most' as any assessment is never that black and white. If your child scores below our key indicator mark then they can still work with us. They may find it more challenging than a child above the key mark but that doesn't mean they don't have the potential to succeed. We have examples of children being turned away by other tutors and then going on to pass the exam having worked with our tutors.

After the initial assessment, we always suggest that you take time to discuss the results as a family and then book tuition with us if you'd like to go ahead. 


We charge £25 for the initial assessment. 


Our groups have a maximum of 8 children per teacher. Working in small groups helps with the psychology of preparing for the exam and gives everyone the opportunity to compare and contrast progress and results; something that individual tuition can never achieve. Students in groups have the opportunity to share skills, improve their motivation and become more self aware of their own strengths and areas they'd like to develop. The group sizes allow children to have one-to-one time with the teacher, ensuring they receive the individual support necessary to refine and improve their skills.  Time and again we see under-confident children come out of their shell and start believing in their own ability.


We receive enquiries for children as young as Year 3 but we won't start specific 11+ tuition until Year 5. The best form of support before this is to focus on improving English and Maths skills and becoming ever more confident in these core areas. We can provide tuition to do this but 11+ tuition is for Year 5 students only. Our classes start from the end of September in the year prior to the exam taking place but children can join the classes at any stage in the year, subject to places being available.


Feedback is provided at the end of each class where parents will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have at this time each week. We will take the time to explain what has been taught during the session and go through the methods employed, work completed and homework. During this time we will also feedback on individual development and answer any questions parents may have. When we begin to complete example exam papers, you will be provided with clear feedback on overall score and each individual area of the tests. This will ensure you understand the areas your child needs to improve upon the most.


During the summer holidays we run optional weekly tuition sessions to help children continue consolidating their skills and build confidence. We also provide mock exams to help prepare for the psychology of the real exam. These mock exams provide a great opportunity to become familiar with timings and exam style questions whilst maintaining focus during this long holiday spell just before the 11+ exam.


Any support with core skills in English and Maths will be beneficial. Reading is fundamental to improving comprehension and vocabulary skills and regardless of how fluent a reader your child may be, they will benefit greatly from the opportunity to read with an adult who can support them with vocabulary and a deeper understanding of the text. This will help to improve vocabulary and inference and deduction skills, and will hopefully provide some relaxing time that you can enjoy together. We even have a recommended reading list to help inspire and challenge your child.

Mental maths practice, particularly developing instant recall of times tables, will give your child greater confidence and ability in tackling maths questions.

You can purchase a range of resources to support additional learning at home and we'd particularly recommend the CGP range of 11+ resources. These are available to purchase from our 11+ online shop as well as in our centre and we're happy to make recommendations and find the resources that are right for your child. The important thing is that they focus on continually developing their knowledge and skills in order to have greater success at tackling the questions. We will provide plenty of opportunities for exam familiarisation and practice from a varied range of resources.


At Skills School our number one priority has always been to prepare children for the rigours of grammar school life, regardless of passing a test along the way. The majority of our teaching focuses on improving English and Maths skills, and confidence. Our philosophy is that children who are achieving highly and are confident in these areas will go on to pass the exam, but more importantly, they will cope with life at grammar school.

We do also spend time preparing children for the exam, but only once they have spent a significant amount of time building their knowledge and skills. It is obviously beneficial for children to become familiar with the types of questions used in grammar school exams, the format of the test and the timings. These areas can be tutored to a degree and the familiarisation with them will be an obvious advantage. The area of Non-Verbal Reasoning, an element of the GL Assessment test which isn't part of the National Curriculum, is something that is more difficult to tutor and those with a higher level of visual reasoning will naturally be more capable in completing these types of questions. That said, the opportunity to explore the different types of non-verbal reasoning questions will ensure students are confident to tackle them. Understanding how these questions are constructed has a strong impact on a student's ability to identify the elements that are similar and different in them - something key to improving your chances of success. We also look at techniques that can be applied to all non-verbal reasoning questions.

The reality is that nothing is completely untutorable; with more experience, familiarisation and practice we become better at most things in life. The 11+ exam is no different. The opportunity to practise and challenge core English and Maths skills alongside some exam preparation will be of great benefit in preparing for the exam, but more importantly and regardless of exam outcome, will be of enormous help in any secondary school setting.


The cauldron of the school playground can be an anxiety inducing experience for many parents when the subject of the 11+ exam first becomes a topic of conversation. There are tales of how difficult it is and how stressful a time it is when preparing. It doesn't have to be this way. We have supported children and parents through the 11+ process for many years. This wealth of experience means that we can help take some of that unnecessary pressure off - taking you through the registration and exam process and giving time to answer any questions you may have. There are various websites available which will explain the process and provide answers to frequently asked questions; the Gloucestershire County Council website is a good place to start.


Our sessions last 80 minutes and we charge £26 for each session. A discount is available to parents of twins whose children would both be attending each week. The sessions are invoiced at the beginning of each term. Payment can be made by BACS, Credit or Debit Card, Cash or Cheque. 

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