Secondary School TRANSITION

Trafford grammar schools and high schools are state funded secondary schools.  In Trafford, grammar schools use entrance exams to determine which pupils are offered places at individual schools. High Schools will also have admission criteria but do not use entrance examinations to determine which pupils gain admission. Secondary schools publish their individual admission arrangements on their websites. Parents should always refer to these websites as information changes over time.

Which secondary schools are popular with parents and children who attend St. Mary’s Primary School?

The majority of children from this school attend either Sale Grammar School or Ashton-on-Mersey High School. Other popular choices include Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Urmston Grammar School and Streford Grammar School.

When are the open days to view these schools?

Parents should check individual secondary school websites for information on open evenings which are typically attended when children are in Year 4 or Year 5.

What information do parents get from Trafford?

Trafford will send out information to your home address. This is an application pack which gives parents an overview of the process. It is, however, important that parents check individual secondary school websites or contact the school directly after Easter as some applications for sitting entrance exams need to be submitted early.

Do all children have to sit an entrance exam?

No. This is purely your decision based on whether or not you wish for your child to attend a selective grammar school. If you live close to St Mary’s School, there are excellent schools for your child in both the grammar school and high school sectors. All children are different and some parents choose not to place additional pressure on their children by participating in the grammar school selection process.

Are these tests 11+ exams?

There is no longer an 11+ examination. Each school sets, and organises the administration of, its own tests. Some grammar schools have begun to use the same entrance examination which is used to consider children for a place at more than one grammar school.

What does the test comprise of?

Each school sets its own test and primary schools are not necessarily informed of what is on the test. We are aware that most schools use verbal and a non-verbal reasoning tests; they may also have a written test and a mathematics test. The scores are age standardised, so your child’s age at the time of taking the test, is taken into account. Please refer to the individual school’s website for further information.

Do children need a tutor for grammar school entrance exams?

The designers of the tests assert that coaching for the tests only marginally improves outcomes. However, many parents choose to engage a tutor to help their child with the entrance exams. Parents need to balance the need to prepare the children for the tests against any additional anxiety this may cause their child.

What does St Mary’s School do to support children who wish to take the entrance exams?

Here, at St Mary’s School, we offer an excellent, broad and balanced education based on the National Curriculum, which we are required to do by law. We care greatly that the children attain a place at a secondary school which is appropriate for them. We cannot possibly coach children for the entrance exams, however, we will ensure that, should you wish, your child has experienced verbal and non-verbal type questions by providing familiarisation sessions outside of the normal school timetable.

When your child is in Year 5, one of our teachers delivers weekly verbal and non-verbal reasoning sessions before school. This provides a useful opportunity to familiarise your child with the type of verbal and non-verbal questions found in the tests. We believe this is important, especially for families who may not have the means to engage a tutor. This does not replace the services of a tutor but helps to ensure equality of opportunity with regard to performance in the test.

When do the entrance exams take place?

All tests have generally been taken before the October half term of Year 6. Some schools arrange entrance examinations on Saturdays, whereas others, such as Sale Grammar School, administer their test during the school week. Parents are responsible for transporting their children to the entrance exams.

How do parents apply for their children to sit the tests?

Information on admission policies and procedures can be found on individual school websites.

What if a child has special needs?

If your child has a special need or disability they may need special arrangements. To discuss these, you need to contact the school directly. Special arrangements are usually based on support a child regularly receives in school, for example, large-print test papers, coloured filters or the provision of a scribe. Requests for special arrangements should usually be made at the same time as an application form is submitted.

What if a child is unwell or unable to sit the exam on the day of the test?

If your child is unwell, contact the school as soon as possible. As long as you have applied in time for the exam, then the school should be able to make arrangements for your child to sit the test again. Parents sometimes have to decide if it is better for their child to take the test with their peers rather than at a different time.

How can parents make decisions regarding which high schools to apply for if the test results have not yet been received?

You will be asked to submit an application form to Trafford naming your preferred schools. Write down the schools that you really want your child to attend in order of preference. Consider all options. It is a good idea to attend all of the open days – do not rely on your child passing an entrance exam as this will limit your child’s choices and cause additional anxiety should they not reach the pass mark. Applications MUST be made to Trafford within the allotted time and can be made on-line.

Is the school informed of results?

No, we are not informed of any results. Results are sent only to home addresses.

Implications for results day:

Results day can be difficult for children who have not met the entrance criteria. It is good to let us know if your child is upset for any reason so that we can support them effectively. We work hard to encourage all of the children to have regard for the feelings of others and politely request that parents also consider this.

What can parents do if their child does not meet the entrance criteria?

It is important to read the school’s individual procedure on its website. Most of the selective schools carry out automatic reviews for children who fall just short of the expected grade. Some schools also have a Special Circumstances Form for unavoidable circumstances which put a child at a disadvantage. Trafford will only be able to review the process that has taken place. For additional guidance please see the Trafford School Admissions document on the internet. This will show current procedure and is updated each August

If a child passes the entrance exam does that mean that he or she has a place in the school?

No, this means that they have met the entrance criteria prior to Trafford’s allocation of school places. Again, please refer to documentation regarding individual school catchment boundaries and admissions. These may change annually.

When are secondary school places allocated?

Individual pupil school places are usually allocated on the 1st March or on the next working day should this fall on a weekend.

Is the primary school informed of high school place allocations?

No, we are not informed of high school places and, once again, it is important to let us know if your child is in any way upset or distressed. This can be a difficult time for the children and we want to support them, and indeed yourselves, as sensitively as we can.

Can parents appeal against Trafford’s secondary school allocation for their child?

Yes, information regarding this is in the paperwork that you will receive on the 1st March detailing your child’s allocated school. If you do wish to make an appeal against your school allocation, please talk to the Headteacher, Mr Hitchcock, who will be happy to assist with any appeals process.

What transition arrangements are in place?

Some secondary schools send members of staff to visit us so that our Year 6 teacher can talk to them about the children they will be receiving from us. Secondary school staff may ask to meet with the children for a short, informal question and answer period during this visit.

Most schools have a transition day which takes place at the secondary school. Some schools may also have an additional morning when the children are expected to attend their new high school to complete a series of assessment tasks.

Parents are directly notified of any such dates by the secondary school. It is the parents’ responsibility to organise transport for such events and advise us of their child’s absence from school.

The thought of these days may be quite daunting for your child initially, but please be reassured that the children always return to us ‘full of beans’ and excited about their new school and all of the adventures which await them!

We do hope this information is useful to you. If you have any further questions then please contact school.