Transfer Testing and Grammar schools 2017

1. Transfer Testing Process

There are two types of mainstream secondary schools in Buckinghamshire: grammar schools and upper/all-ability schools.

  • Grammar schools admit children based on their performance in the Transfer Test
  • Upper/all-ability schools admit any child, regardless of ability

All the grammar schools in Buckinghamshire are their own Admission Authority. Buckinghamshire LA acts as the Transfer Testing process administrator for these schools. This information is provided on their behalf.


If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary school they will automatically be registered for the Transfer Test. As this test is not compulsory, it is useful to think - before they sit the test - about whether a grammar school place would be suitable for your child. If you think not, just let your child's headteacher know, in writing, that you would like to withdraw them from the Transfer Test.

Parents of children going to all other schools (Partner schools and all schools outside of the county, including those in Milton Keynes) needed to register their child for testing by 30 June 2016. Late test registration is only available after this date for children moving into the area.

There is no charge for sitting the entrance test for Buckinghamshire grammar schools but there is a cost to grammar schools. To avoid unnecessary cost please think about whether a Buckinghamshire grammar school place is really what you want for your child. If you no longer want them to be tested, please let us know straight away and we will withdraw them.

Introduction to the Transfer Test

The Transfer Test is taken at the beginning of the autumn term of Year 6. It is independently produced by the Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (CEM) at the University of Durham. The test has been specially designed to work out a child's potential and the skills measured in the test should make sure that all children go to a school that can best meet their educational needs.

The Transfer Test is a test of children's ability to think through and solve problems posed in three different contexts: verbal, numerical and non-verbal. This gives children the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a range of ways – using words, numbers and pictures or diagrams.

There has been a great deal of research internationally and for many decades about the nature of children's abilities and how best to measure them.

The Transfer Test reflects modern research into the nature of ability and the quite widely-held view that people have multiple abilities. It is therefore considered appropriate to test children's ability to think in a range of different contexts.

To make sure that children have had the chance to try the types of question and see the style of the tests, there is a Familiarisation booklet to work through at home. Then, before taking the Transfer Test, children will also take the Preparation Test.

Test dates

Children who go to Buckinghamshire LA primary and Partner schools take the Preparation and Transfer Tests at school on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 13 September 2016 - Preparation Test
  • Thursday 15 September 2016 - Transfer Test

Children from out of county schools will be tested on the same days, usually at one of the Buckinghamshire grammar schools. The parents of children due to be tested at a grammar school were emailed during July to confirm the date, time and school where their child was to be tested. Children currently living abroad will not be tested until they return to the UK.

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Last updated: 20 April 2017