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Secondary Transfer Testing 2022 introduction

1. Secondary Transfer Testing 2022 introduction

This information is for the parents of pupils who will be moving up to Year 7 in September 2022.

In Buckinghamshire, we have two sorts of mainstream secondary schools - grammar schools and upper/all-ability schools.

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

Each of the thirteen grammar schools in Buckinghamshire is its own Admission Authority. For the purpose of Secondary Transfer Testing, the thirteen schools work together as The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS). We administer the Secondary Transfer Testing process for TBGS. We provide this information on their behalf. You can find more details on the TBGS website including links to the website for each grammar school.

GL Assessment will provide the Secondary Transfer Test for September 2022 entry.

Your child will take the Secondary Transfer Test during the autumn term of Year 6. The test is designed to assess a child’s suitability for grammar school. The skills measured in the test should make sure that your child will go to a school that can best meet their educational needs. 

We test if your child can think through and work out verbal, mathematical and non-verbal problems. This gives your child the chance to show their skills in different ways - using words, numbers and pictures or diagrams.

Each child will work through a Familiarisation booklet at home. This makes sure your child has the chance to see the style of the tests and to try out some of the question types. Your child will also take a Practice Test before taking the Secondary Transfer Test.

2. Would you like your child to take the Secondary Transfer Test?

If yes:

  • If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary school you don’t need to do anything - we register them for the Secondary Transfer Test automatically.
  • If your child goes to any other school you will needed to register them for Secondary Transfer Testing.
    The registration deadline was 3pm on 24 June 2021
    Late registration is only available after this date for children moving into the area.
  • Your child will get ready for the test by completing the Familiarisation booklet at home.
  • Your child will then take the Practice Test followed by the Secondary Transfer Test in September.
  • We let you know your child’s results on 15 October.

If no:

  • If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary school write to your child’s headteacher to let them know you do not want your child to take the test.

 

In both cases remember to apply for your child’s secondary school place during the first half of the autumn term. Apply to the County or Borough in whose area your child lives.

The National Secondary School Application Deadline is 31 October 2021.

 

In case the testing schedule is disrupted we would advise you to still include both grammar schools and upper /all ability schools on your application in the event that  results are released after this date.

 

3. Test dates for Secondary Transfer Test

The Secondary Transfer Test dates for this autumn are 7 to 9 September for children attending Buckinghamshire primary schools and Partner schools.

Out of county children will now take the Secondary Transfer Test on:

  • Saturday 4 September (practice) and Saturday 11 September (Transfer Test)
     
    OR

  • Sunday 5 September (practice) and Sunday 12 September (Transfer Test).

Exact dates will be advised to children when formal invitations are emailed to parents in early August. Please note that you cannot choose a test date, these will be allocated to you.

 

We are aware that the Buckinghamshire  Secondary Transfer test dates are on the same day as the Slough Grammar Schools Test and the Reading Boys test.  We are working hard to ensure that children can sit the test without impacting on the other tests but should this not be possible we may need to ask some children to sit the test on an alternative date.  We will advise you in early August which date and venue your child has been allocated, so in the meantime please do not contact the team to query this.

View information about coronavirus and Secondary Transfer Testing (external site). 

 

'Identification and Fit for Testing' form for out of county children

If your child is taking the tests at a grammar school we will send you an 'Identification and Fit for Testing' form with your testing invitation.

You must fill in this form and bring it to the Secondary Transfer Testing session, without this form we will not be able to test your child.

This form is to enable you to confirm that your child is well on the test date. You should attach a photograph of your child to the form so we can check their identity too.

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire local authority or Partner School, you do not need to fill in this form as your child's identity is confirmed by the school.

 

Children living abroad

If you are currently living abroad we will not test your child until they return to the UK.

 

4. Illness on Secondary Transfer Test day and Late Tests

t is very important that if your child is unwell they do not take the Secondary Transfer Test. 

Children who go to a Buckinghamshire local authority primary or Partner school

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA or Partner School and they are ill on the dates of the tests, they will be able to take the tests when they are well. 

 

Children who attend out of county schools

If your child is unwell and is due to take the test at a grammar school, you must give us evidence to show why your child is not able to take the test. If the evidence shows there were exceptional reasons for your child not taking the test, we will offer one alternative test date.

If your child does not attend testing at the grammar school on the day of the Secondary Transfer Test you will need to tell us why. Unless there is a reasonable explanation, we will withdraw your child from the testing process.

If your child cannot come to the tests at the grammar school due to illness, we need you to send us medical confirmation e.g. a letter from your GP or evidence of a need to self-isolate. This letter must confirm that your child was not well enough to take the test. More information will be provided in your invitation.

 

All children

If your child becomes unwell during testing, and is unable to complete a test paper, they will not be able to re-sit that paper at a later date.

They will be able to sit the second paper on another date if it has not been started.

5. Will my child get a grammar school place if I don’t live in Buckinghamshire?

Buckinghamshire  grammar schools are very popular. 

In the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test children  need to achieve 121 to qualify for entry. A higher score in the test will not give your child a better chance of getting a grammar school place (this is different to some other areas). 

If there are more qualified applications than places then the admission rules for each school will decide which qualified children get a place. You can find admission rules on each school’s website.

In general, places are usually offered to siblings of current pupils first, then to children living in catchment and then other children living near to the school.  This means children who qualify for a grammar school and live outside the school’s catchment area are often not offered a  place. 

Most Buckinghamshire grammar schools also give some priority to children who are entitled to Free School Meals and/or Pupil Premium.

Your child may qualify for grammar school but then have their application refused because there are more qualified applicants for the school than places available.  If this happens you can appeal against the decision, but most appeals for grammar school places are not successful, even for qualified children. 

This is because the schools are already full, so please think carefully before making an appeal. If you decide to appeal, please consider the following:

  • It does not make any difference if a child scores higher than 121 in the Secondary Transfer Test. A higher test score does not mean a place is more likely to be offered.
  • It is very unlikely you will be successful if there is an alternative school place available for your child in your area.   
  • It is also very unlikely you will be successful if you live outside the school’s catchment area.

What if I move to Buckinghamshire after 31 October, and my child is qualified, am I guaranteed a grammar school place?

No, even when we are happy with your moving in evidence your child is not guaranteed a Buckinghamshire grammar school place

In 2020, only 3% of appeals were successful for Buckinghamshire grammar schools for children living outside the county.

View  information about how grammar school places have been allocated in the past.

 

6. Registration

Children who attend a Buckinghamshire local authority primary school

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire local authority primary school they are automatically registered for the Secondary Transfer Test. The test is not compulsory, so do think carefully now about whether a grammar school place would be suitable for your child.

We give you a familiarisation booklet so you can see  the types of question in the tests.

To  withdraw your child from the Test you should  contact your child's headteacher before the testing process starts.

 

Children who attend out of county and Partner schools

If your child goes to a Partner school or a school outside of the county, including those in Milton Keynes, you need to register your child for testing. We will only register your child after this date if you can show you have very recently moved to the area.

Registration closed at 3pm on 24 June

There is no charge if you would like your child to take the test for Buckinghamshire grammar schools. The grammar schools pay for the tests. To avoid unnecessary cost, if you do not think a grammar school would suit your child, please do not register them for testing. If you do register your child for testing and then change your mind, tell us straight away and we will withdraw them.

The GL Assessment Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test is for entry to Buckinghamshire grammar schools only so your child should not use it as 'practice’ for tests in other areas.

 

Qualification for a grammar school

Statistics from other years show how many places were offered to children living outside of Buckinghamshire.

Grammar school entry depends on your child qualifying by scoring 121 or above in the test or qualifying through the Selection Review Process. Each grammar school sets its own admission rules to decide which qualified children should get places and all give priority to children who live in the catchment area. The admission rules for grammar schools are on each school's website.

 

Late testing

We can test your child later if they are ill on the date of the test. If your family has recently moved into Buckinghamshire we will also offer late testing. You will need to provide us with evidence of your house move, this can be completed online by using our contact us form.

We will also consider later testing for children who move into the area after 24 June 2021 and by 25 June 2022.

7. Adjustments to the testing conditions

If your child has special educational needs or a disability, you may want to think about whether a grammar school would be best for them. It might help if you also talk to your child's primary school about this.

If your child's special educational needs or disability has ‘a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities', you should talk to their primary school headteacher. If your child's situation might make access to the test difficult, discuss if special testing arrangements should be made. The same applies to everyday access to the curriculum. Also make sure your child’s school knows about their needs so that, if necessary, they can put reasonable adjustments in place.

If it is felt that adjustments should be made for your child to take the test, then your child's headteacher should contact us. Where it is not possible for the headteacher to contact us, please fill out our contact us form. Make sure you tell us about this before your child sits the test.

View further information about requesting adjustments to the secondary transfer test PDF, 256KB.

When considering a request for adjustments, we look for evidence from your child's current school to show how they change the delivery of the normal day-to-day curriculum to meet your child’s particular needs. We also look for other professional evidence to support your request. For this reason, we will contact your child's headteacher for further information.

We cannot offer extra marks to compensate for any special needs your child may have. This is because each child's case is different. It is impossible to say exactly how many marks would be appropriate. If we decide that your child:

  • is disabled within the terms of the Equality Act (2010), or
  • has a disability that will have a clear impact in relation to the format of the test,

We offer appropriate and reasonable special arrangements to make the test as accessible as possible.

Please be aware that in many cases, if adjustments are agreed, this may mean that you child may need to sit the test alone or be tested on a different day so please bear this mind when considering whether to apply for adjustments.

If your child does not qualify and you still think a grammar school would be suitable, you can ask the Selection Review Panel and/or the Independent Appeal Panel to consider their case.

We give the information we have about your child's needs to the Selection Review Panel and/or the Independent Appeal Panel.

8. Under-age and over-age testing

Sometimes we agree that a child can take the Secondary Transfer Test before the school year in which they are 11. This only happens if your child is of outstanding academic ability.

Your child will also need to:

  • be very mature
  • have been working well with other pupils in the year group above them for several years

We will not agree to test an under-age child if they have only been in some classes with older children.

We will also not test a child if they have only been working in a mixed year group class.

 

Over age testing

From time to time, we agree to test a child who is over the age of 11.

This might be because your child has missed at least a year of school because they were ill or living abroad or because they were summer born and started school later.

 

Contact us about testing

If your child is under-age or over-age and you would like us to test them, then please contact us straight away.

We will ask you and your child's headteacher for more information. We will then decide if we will offer testing in this cohort.

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary school or Partner school, you should speak to their headteacher.

9. Secondary Transfer Testing process

Familiarisation booklet

The booklet contains information about what is in the test. There is also advice about taking on the test and sample questions.

Children who attend a Buckinghamshire local authority primary or Partner school

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary we will send you a Familiarisation booklet by post. 

Children who attend an out of county school

If your child goes to an out of county school or Partner school, a copy of the Familiarisation booklet is available online to download and print off.

 

Practice test

Your child will take the practice test before they take the Secondary Transfer Test.

The practice test looks the same as the Secondary Transfer Test and has the same instructions. Your child will sit the two multiple-choice Practice Test papers in test conditions. These are both timed like the Secondary Transfer Test. An audio soundtrack gives the instructions for the test.

The practice test will mean your child becomes very familiar with the different sorts of questions and the style of the test. Your child will get used to using a separate answer sheet. Your child will experience this under test conditions. The Practice Test papers are shorter than the Secondary Transfer Test:

  • they take about 40 minutes each
  • they are not marked or sent home.

The purpose of the Practice Test is not to see how well your child has done. It is to give your child a good opportunity to prepare for the Secondary Transfer Test.

Children who attend a Buckinghamshire local authority primary or Partner school

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary or Partner school, they will take the Practice Test at their own school. They will not sit the Secondary Transfer Test until they have taken the practice test.

 

Children who attend an out of county school

If your child goes to any other school, we will invite them to take the practice test, usually at one of the grammar schools, in early September  2021.

We recommended your child takes the practice test before the Secondary Transfer Test but it is not essential.

 

How parents can best help their children to prepare for the test

 There are several things that parents can do to help their children.

  • Make sure your child has experience of working quietly on their own. Make sure there are no distractions or interruptions.
  • Make sure your child does any homework that is set.
  • Help your child to read with understanding.
  • You can ask them what certain words mean and what is happening in the passage or book that they are reading.
  • You can encourage your child to solve problems or to look up things for themselves.
  • Your child can work through the Familiarisation booklet.

You can also find free familiarisation materials from the GL Assessment website.

The Secondary Transfer Test

There are two Secondary Transfer Test papers. They are multiple-choice.  One paper tests verbal skills including comprehension, technical English and verbal reasoning. The other tests mathematics and non-verbal skills including spatial reasoning.

They are about 45 minutes long (60 minutes including the introduction and examples). An audio soundtrack gives the instructions for the test.

 

 

10. Marking the Secondary Transfer Test

How the tests are marked

GL Assessment mark the Secondary Transfer Test papers. The marks are then ‘standardised'. Standardisation balances the overall performance of children from one year to the next. It also makes sure that all children are placed on an equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of his or her age. It takes into account each child's age in years and months on the date they take the test. A child's ‘standardised score' will be between 0 and 180+.

Your child's standardised scores from the two Secondary Transfer Test papers are added together.  This gives their standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS). The STTS will be the sum of the following:

  • 50% of the standardised score for verbal skills
  • 25% of the standardised score for mathematical skills
  • 25% of the standardised score for non-verbal skills.

What score does my child require to qualify?

If your child's STTS is 121 or above, they qualify for grammar school. We expect that about 37% of children will get an STTS of 121 or more. Your child is suitable for any grammar school if they qualify by scoring 121 or more in the Secondary Transfer Test

Your child's STTS is not used to work out whether they are likely to be offered a grammar school place.

All children who score 121 or above qualify. A score above 121 does not mean your child has a higher priority for a grammar school place as Buckinghamshire grammar schools do not use score as an admission rule.

 

How long does the qualification last?

If your child qualifies but does not go to one of our grammar schools at the start of Year 7, that qualification will lapse at some point. Usually this happens in the school year starting in September 2023 but you should check the admission policy for the school you are interested in to find out.

Further details are in the admissions policy for each grammar school. If you would like your child to start at a grammar school after the start of Year 7, there is the Late Transfer Procedure.

 

Remarking a Secondary Transfer Test

If you ask us, we will remark your child test papers and check their Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS). There is a cost for this service. Talk to your child's headteacher about this.  They will tell you that it is most unlikely that your child's papers will have been incorrectly marked.

Request a remark

 

Under the Data Protection Act, Schedule 2, Part 4, Para 25, candidates do not have the right to see their test papers once handed in. The Freedom of Information Act does not override the Data Protection Act in this matter.

 

 

11. Secondary Transfer Test results

 

The result of the testing process decides which type of school will best meet your child's needs. This could be an upper/all-ability school or a grammar school.

 

Receiving the results

Date test was taken Results received
By 9 September 2021 15 October 2021
After 9 September 2021 Will be sent as soon as possible after 15 October 2021

These dates are the same regardless of if your child goes to a Buckinghamshire local authority, partner or any other school, including out of county. 

What the results mean  

On 15 October you will receive your child's Test results. 

You will receive your child's Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS). It will also tell you what your child scored in the verbal, mathematical and non-verbal sections of the test. It will say whether the STTS qualifies your child for grammar school admission.

If your child's STTS is 121 or more, they have qualified for grammar school. This means that we will do our best to offer your child a place at one of your preferred grammar schools on 1 March 2022.

If your child's STTS is less than 121, they have not qualified for grammar school.

Understanding your options

Complete the answers below to see what options are available to you.



 

Before you know the results

You need to make sure you apply for your child's secondary school place by the national deadline of midnight on 31 October 2021.

You will not have the results of the Secondary Transfer Test before the school place application deadline so you must include both grammar school preference/preferences and upper/all ability school preferences on your application.

Once you know the results

If your child did not qualify

You only need to do something if your child did not qualify and you feel strongly that they would be suitable for a grammar school. If this is the case, you have two options:

Either

  • You can ask for a Selection Review. Reviews will take place in December 2021 and January 2022. If your review is successful, your child will qualify for all Buckinghamshire grammar schools. We will be able to consider all your grammar school preferences for the allocation of school places on 1 March 2022.

If your child does not qualify at review, you can ask for an Independent Admission Appeal for a place at a particular grammar school. 
You cannot do this until after the allocation of school places in March. Appeals will take place from May 2022.

If you decide to appeal and your child's case went to Selection Review, the Independent Appeal Panel (IAP) will first need to decide if the Selection Review Process was 'fair, consistent and objective'.

It is only if the IAP agrees that it was not, that they will then be able to consider the rest of the case you make for admission to the particular grammar school.

Or

  • You may decide to wait. You can then ask for an Independent Admission Appeal for a place at a particular grammar school once we tell you the outcome of your application on 1 March 2022. We will refuse your grammar school preferences as your child did not score 121 or above in the Secondary Transfer Test. Admissions appeals take place from May 2022.

You may wish to talk to your child's primary school headteacher before you ask for a review (or appeal). You can discuss if your child’s STTS was as expected and whether a grammar school would be best for your child. 

 

12. Selection Review

Selection Reviews take place in December 2021 and January 2022.

A Selection Review is a chance for you to explain, in writing, why you feel a grammar school would be best for your child.

The Selection Review panel will decide if your child would be suitable for a grammar school even though their STTS was less than 121.

 

Selection Review Panel

On each Selection Review Panel there are two grammar school headteachers and one primary school headteacher. All the headteachers who sit on the panels will receive training. They understand the nature of the decisions they are taking. They will not consider cases of children known to them or from schools in which they have an interest.

Cases are usually heard in date order of receipt.. The Selection Review Panel will not know the secondary schools you have applied for.

You might include a report from an Educational Psychologist or another specialist (for example, medical consultant or ophthalmologist) in your case. In this instance, your child’s review will be heard by a panel supported by an Educational Psychologist (EP). The EP provides expert information to the panel to help them come to a decision.

 

Some things for you to think about

Strong academic evidence will be vital to the success of a review.

The Selection Review Panel (SRP) will look for clear academic evidence to show that a grammar school would be best for your child.

The Panel will also want to see evidence of any exceptional reasons to show why your child did not do as well as expected in the Secondary Transfer Test.

We will give the SRP information about how your child performed in the Secondary Transfer Test. The Panel will be given your child's scores in the verbal, mathematical and non-verbal sections of the test as well as their STTS.

 

Children who go to a Buckinghamshire local authority primary or Partner school

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary or Partner school, the SRP will also have information from your child’s current headteacher. This will tell the panel if they believe your child would be suitable for a grammar school and their attitude to work (learning).

Headteachers give us this information before they know your child's results.

 

 

 

13. Grammar School suitability

Your child's headteacher can recommend your child as:

  • Exceptionally able so very highly recommended, or
  • Very able so recommended without any reservation, or
  • Recommended with reservation, or
  • Not recommended for grammar school.

Your child's attitude to learning can be described as:

  • Enjoys challenge and is a highly motivated independent learner, or
  • Consistently hardworking and reliable, or
  • Output varies, or
  • Lacks self organisation, requires support.

Children who go to a Buckinghamshire local authority primary or Partner school

Buckinghamshire LA primary and Partner school headteachers give us this information before they know the results of the Secondary Transfer Test. 

 

Children who attend an out of county school

If your child goes to an out of county school, their headteacher can give us this information if you ask for a Selection Review.

You can ask them to complete a Headteacher's Selection Review Summary Sheet on your child's behalf.

 

How this information is used by the Selection Review panel

The Selection Review Panel values this information. It gives them an idea of the context in which your child is working at school.

It also enables them to see how unexpected a child's STTS may have been when compared to their headteacher's recommendation.

14. Exceptional reasons for not qualifying

You may believe that your child did not qualify for grammar school because of an illness or upset in the family.

The academic evidence suggests your child would have qualified if not for these exceptional circumstances. If this is the case, make sure you include third-party evidence to confirm the situation.

This might be for example:

  • a GP or medical specialist's letter for your child or family member
  • a letter from an employer to explain a lengthy parental absence (particularly for forces families where a family member has been serving in a combat zone)
  • evidence to show significant issues such as the death of a close family member near to the time of the test
  • a very recent house/school move

 

You should make sure you show that the Secondary Transfer Test results are not as expected.

Also show that your child would be academically able to meet the demands of a grammar school.

When you send us the Headteacher's Selection Review Summary Sheet, as well as your evidence you can also include old school reports.

Do not include schoolwork as the Panel will not consider this.

 

 

15. Requesting a Selection Review

You can request a Selection Review as your child has not qualified for a grammar school.  To complete this form you will need the following

 

  • Student ID number, you can find this on your child's results email
  • Your child's school or Headteachers email address.

 

By completing this request form your child's school will be sent a notification informing the school that you are considering a Selection Review and  that you may request the Headteacher to complete a 'Selection Review Summary Sheet for Headteacher's' form for your child.

 

Request Selection Review Information – not currently  available

Request Selection Review Information 

You will be sent an email with information on the Selection Review process and a link to the online form that you will need to submit your child's Selection Review.

An email will also be sent to your Headteacher with a link to the online form for the Headteacher’s Selection Review Summary Sheet. Ask your child's headteacher to complete this.

This gives the Selection Review Panel up-to-date information about how your child is doing at school. It will be for you to decide if you wish to upload the headteacher’s form with your review. You will be sent a copy by email once your Headteacher has completed the form.

The deadline to submit online Selection Review Form is 5 November  2021. You will need to upload your supporting information and evidence at the same time. 

 

Late reviews

We will only accept completed review requests received after 5 November 2021 if:

  • your child did not receive their results on 15 October
  • there are exceptional reasons for not meeting the deadline (you will need to provide third party evidence to confirm these reasons)

 

 

16. When will I know the outcome of my review?

Review outcomes are not available until after all the Selection Review Panels have met and moderation is complete. During moderation we check to ensure consistency from panel to panel. It is only once this part of the process is over that we can tell you the outcome of your child's review.

We will tell you the outcome of your child's review on 9 February  2022.

At the same time, we tell the headteachers of Buckinghamshire LA primary and Partner schools the outcomes for children at their schools. 

The allocation on 1 March 2022 will take the review decision into account.

If your child qualifies at review

If your child has qualified at review, there is nothing else you need to do. We will consider your grammar school preferences and will tell you the outcome of your secondary school application on 1 March 2022.

For successful reviews heard after February, we look at your grammar school preferences in the next allocation round. We will then let you know if we can offer your child a place at one of your preferred grammar schools.

 

If your child does not qualify at review

If your child does not qualify at review, there is nothing else you can do immediately but after 1 March 2022 you can ask for an Independent Admission Appeal for a place at a particular grammar school.

 

Appeals take place from May 2022.

 

If you choose to appeal, as your child's case went to review, the Independent Appeal Panel (IAP) will first need to decide whether the Selection Review Process was 'fair, consistent and objective'.

It is only if the IAP agrees that it was not, that they will then be able to consider the rest of the case you make for admission to the particular grammar school.

More information about the appeal process is available here.

 

 

17. Timeline for entry in 2023

Children born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012 will be moving up to secondary school in September 2023. The dates set so far for that academic year are as follows.

 

Will be available after July 2021