Statement from TBGS & GL Assessment

Joint statement – The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) and GL Assessment,

“During the first sitting of the Secondary Transfer Test yesterday (12 September), it became apparent that two questions in the Verbal Skills paper could not be answered correctly as the options on the answer sheet did not reflect those in the question paper.

“As soon as the issue was identified, every effort was made to give instructions to all test centres, informing them that candidates should not attempt to answer the two questions. The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS) and GL Assessment were immediately informed, and an urgent investigation is already under way. However, we would like to assure all parents and candidates that there will be a fair resolution within a very short period of time and we will update parents as soon as we can.

“We fully appreciate that this is a difficult time for all involved, and we sincerely apologise for any anxiety this may have caused the candidates and their parents.”

Further information

For parental enquiries, please contact

For press enquiries, please contact Danielle Morgan, Head of Communications, GL Assessment / 020 8996 3632

Building your Child's Vocabulary for 11 Plus Preparation

The vocabulary level required for the GL Exam is very high and is a core concept within the English paper. Building your child’s vocabulary can be done in various ways.

The most effective way is to ensure that your child is well-read. At this stage your child should be reading a diverse range of books by various authors. If your child only enjoys reading a certain type of fiction, begin by encouraging them to read books on the same topic by different authors so that they are exposed to a different type of writing or vocabulary. As they are reading, have them underline or pick out unfamiliar words and make a list of them – try to use these in context whenever possible.

An easy way to improve your child’s vocabulary is not to oversimplify or water-down the language you use when speaking to you child. Children have a bigger receptive vocabulary than expressive vocabulary and are able to understand a lot more than we give them credit for. As a parent, you play a major role in the vocabulary your child will be able to understand.

A fun way to increase the breadth of your child’s vocabulary is to play with them. Games such a scrabble, bananagrams etc are a great way to learn new words. Have a dictionary/thesaurus nearby to enhance the learning. A game you can play easily with them is Create a Word. Player 1 begins with a letter e.g. C, Player 2 adds to the letter e.g. A, Player 1 adds to that e.g M and so on until the word can no longer continue (e.g. CAMERAMAN). The last person to add a letter loses.

Put new words up on the fridge or in your child’s bedroom. Seeing recently learned words will reinforce them visually, reminding your child on a daily basis.

Increasing breadth of vocabulary is not an easy task but by following the above guidelines, your child should succeed in increasing their vocabulary, bringing them one step closer to 11 Plus success.

DfE Awards 16 Grammar Schools Funds to Expand

The Department for Education has recently announced that it has awarded 16 Grammar schools across the United kingdom a total of £50mln to support the creation of additional high quality places in fully selective or partially selective schools.  Specifically, in the application, schools were asked to set out the steps they plan to take to increase access of disadvantaged pupils.  39 schools applied out of which 16 schools were awarded the funding, two of which are in Buckinghamshire ( John Hampden Grammar school & Sir William Borlase’s Grammar school).  For further information please see the write up on the BBC website or alternatively the DfE website.

Buckinghamshire 11+ Result Analysis 2018

Congratulations to all those who passed their Buckinghamshire 11+ for entry into Grammar school in September 2019.  This was an especially challenging year given it was the first year the test has been provided by GL Assessments – having previously been provided by CEM.  All in, 10,309 students sat the exam this year, up approximately 3% from the previous year when 10,037 students sat the test.  The qualification mark remained a standardised score of 121 or more and a total of 3,518 children (giving a pass rate of 34%) achieved the required score.  This compares with 3,453 children achieving the required score in 2017 giving a similar pass rate of 34%.  Looking at the results for Milton Keynes in particular, one can see that the popularity of sitting the exam is increasing with 626 students being registered to sit, an increase of 10% from 2017 when 571 students sat the exam.  The percentage of students from Milton Keynes passing remained similar to last year at 42% (261 children) and above the average for the Buckinghamshire area.  Please note that this analysis is based on the provisional numbers released by Buckinghamshire County Council as at 16th October 2018 and is subject to change.

11+ Results Day Buckinghamshire 2018

Friday is the long-awaited Buckinghamshire 11 Plus results day.  Here are some of our tutors’ top tips on handling the news.

1)   Stay Positive – Leading up to the results day you should focus on the positives of either outcome.  Talk to your child about the benefits of a grammar school, but also those of their first choice non-selective school.  This may include things like friends attending, sports teams, drama opportunities etc – each school will have something that makes them unique.

2)   Plan Ahead  – Make sure you have something planned for Friday to distract your child from the results.  Pass or not, your child will deserve a treat for the hard work they have put in.

3)   Keep it Private – Depending on what school your child attends, the results may be given to them at school.  It is best to take the results home or to a quiet place to open the envelope.  This will show consideration for those that have not passed.  If your child has succeeded, ensure they do not start calling or messaging their friends as this can add salt to the wound forthose who have not been as fortunate.

4)   Give Your Child Time – Give your child time to deal with the news.  Talk to them about how to approach seeing their peers back at school.  If they have been successful, discuss the importance of modesty and sensitivity towards others.

5)   Praise – Use the next few weeks and months to really build your child’s confidence so they are ready to start secondary school with tenacity.  Praise their hard work and good results in school.

6) Plan – Plan what comes next.  Your child should now have a lot more free time.  After having a few weeks of break, use the extra time for fun, but productive, activities.  As the preparation for the 11 plus exam will have required your child to work beyond the year 6 curriculum, it is important to continue to motivate and engage your child.  Perhaps they can learn a new skill, sport or language.  Whichever you choose, it will encourage them to be successful life-long learners!