Devon 11+ Tutor and Principal Partner at Next Steps Tutors, Sarah, explains your choices and routes to grammar school in the far South West.
Devon, whilst blessed with some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and moors, doesn’t come out so well when we look at our grammar school availability. In fact, the north of the county has none at all. With many families discovering our fantastic outdoor lifestyle the urge to join the country lifestyle is growing. However, it’s important to consider your family’s education before moving West. Here’s our run-down of Devon grammar schools, their ethos and 11+ entrance exam process.
Colyton Grammar School, Colyton, Devon, EX24 6HN
Colyton Grammar School, one of the county’s oldest schools having established in 1546, still holds the same values as their Tudor founders: wanting students to be ‘of great principle, integrity and character who are equipped to become the future leaders of their community.’
Situated on the Devon borders, its catchment covers East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset. Colyton Grammar School is co-educational with 120 well-sought-after places (about 3-4 applicants for every place). The 11+ exam process uses the CEM papers in Verbal Reasoning & Comprehension, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning. The school also set a 20 minute Creative Writing paper of its own.
Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0LN
Situated just outside Brixham, Churston Ferrers Grammar School is an oversubscribed, co-educational school with a sixth form. The school has 130 places per year group with 3+ applicants for every place. Most of the students on role come from within 5 miles of the school. Churston Ferrers is a specialist college for Humanities, with a strong ethos of sustainability and links around the globe.
Churston Ferrers uses CEM 11+ papers for its entrance exams. They test in Verbal Reasoning (including comprehension), Non-Verbal-Reasoning and Numerical Reasoning (Maths). The school holds open days in June and September and have a great virtual open day video to watch on YouTube.
Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 7EL
Torquay Boys’ Grammar School draws students from a wide catchment, including Newton Abbot, Exeter and Totnes. There are 150 places per year group, which, once again, are oversubscribed by a ratio of around 3:1. Nationally, it is one of the top ten schools in the country. Out of over 3,000 secondaries that’s no mean feat.
Torquay Boys’ Grammar School uses two CEM test papers assessing verbal ability, numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The combined score from both papers will be the final score.
Torquay Girls’ Grammar School, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 7DY
Torquay Girls’ Grammar School is a selective girls’ school with a sixth form in collaboration with TBGS. They have 120 places with around 3+ applicants for every place. Drawing from a wide catchment across South Devon, the school provides excellent travel services to those living outside of Torquay. Torquay Girls’ Grammar School has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted in all categories.
Torquay Girls’ Grammar also follow the CEM exam format. Two papers covering comprehension and word choice and maths and non-verbal reasoning.
Plymouth High School for Girls, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 6HT
Plymouth High School for Girls is a popular grammar school with 120 places per year group. The school is a designated International Baccalaureate school, meaning some sixth formers (both girls and boys) complete an IB route to Level 3 qualifications rather than A levels.
The school uses GL assessment papers in English Comprehension and Maths for selection. There is also an extended writing paper, used in the case of an appeal. The school takes part in a wide variety of enrichment beyond the classroom and lives up to its motto, ‘For Life Not School We Learn’.
Devonport High School for Boys, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 5QP
Devonport High School for Boys is a larger selective school with 170 places in Year 7. There are however, still at leat 3 applicants for each available place. It has a reputation for academic success and prides itself on its motto, ‘Everyone Succeeds’. The school has excellent sports facilities.
Devonport High School for Boys has three exam papers. English reading and Maths take the GL format, whilst an English writing paper is the school’s own.
Devonport High School for Girls, Plymouth, Devon, PL2 3DL
Devonport High School for Girls is a Specialist Languages College by designation. There are 120 sought-after places per year group at this challenging and enriching school. Unusual and great to see, the school funds an 8 hour course for pupil premium girls, supporting their access to selective education.
Devonport High School for Girls uses GL Assessment exams (English and Maths) for selection. The school holds 12 places for Pupil Premium children from its 120 place allocation.
The Spires College, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 3PE
Perhaps the most unusual of the selective schools in Devon, The Spires School is a bilateral school, meaning that it has two intakes: an 11+ stream and a main stream. Situated in Torquay, it has 60 selective places per year group with 3+ applicants for every space. Selective Grammar pupils are taught within the same school grounds but will follow an accelerated pathway.
Children sitting The Spires College 11+ exam will sit two CEM papers covering English and Verbal Reasoning, Maths and Numerical Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
Further Resources and Information
To gain a place at any of the Devon grammar schools children must pass the school’s 11+ exam. Tests generally take place over a weekend in September. Schools usually coordinate across the county, so it is possible to sit both the CEM and GL papers, although their format is slightly different.
Between April and August, parents are asked to register their child at their chosen school(s) if they wish to sit the test. Both the Torquay schools and Plymouth schools operate separate ‘one test’ policies. Your child’s score will apply to all schools within their consortium.
There is no pass mark as this varies from year to year depending on the number of children taking the tests. Pupils are ranked in score order with some schools offering a number of places to Pupil Premium children, those with EHCPs and Looked After children as a first priority.
If you are looking for an 11+ Tutor in Devon, please take a look at our 11+ pathway.
Following the 11+ Exam
Around early-mid October, you will receive a letter informing you of the outcome for your child. It’s important not to complete your CAF (Common Application Form) for secondary schools prior to getting your child’s score. You should only include a school on the CAF if you have been successful at 11+ entry. Once you know your child’s results, you can apply for more than one selective school as long as your child gained a YES on their Eleven Plus results letter.
You then need to wait until 1st March, commonly known as National Offer Day, when all parents will be informed of their child’s secondary school place offered. Should you not get the desired school, there is an appeals process (and I’ll be telling you all about that soon).