Grammar schools in England and subsequently in British territories overseas have a long and colourful history as part of a highly rated education system. The existence of these schools can be dated as far back as the sixth century. However, the term ‘scolae grammaticales’ (Grammar schools) was only used since the 14th century. Originally these schools were attached to cathedrals and monasteries and taught Latin because this was seen as the language of the church.
However, in more recent days, Grammar schools are seen as selective academically-oriented secondary schools in England. They also now teach a wide variety of subjects.
Only 163 of these Grammar schools still remain in England today. There are however no remaining Grammar schools in North East England or Wales and 69 Grammar schools in Northern Ireland. Currently, Grammar schools are only found in 37 local English authorities, of which 7 are in the Greater London area. Consequently, more than half of these Grammar schools are therefore seen as selective, with only 1 out of 5 local children get selected on ability.
CEM is the 11 Plus examination board for several regional 11 Plus grammar school entrance papers, so here we are focusing on the CEM 11 Plus grammars. The other major 11 Plus provider is GL Assessment. There are some CEM 11 Plus GL 11 Plus differences.
CEM is the 11 Plus grammar entrance exams within the following counties/regions:
- Bexley 11 Plus Entrance Exam
- Birmingham 11 Plus Entrance Exam
- Medway. Applicants for grammar schools in Medway need to sit the Medway entrance test. This test consists of Extended Writing, Maths and Verbal Reasoning. These tests are set by CEM since 2017.
- South West 11 Plus Entrance Exam
- Warwickshire 11 Plus Entrance Exam
Grammar schools in the following counties use the CEM 11 Plus entrance exam:
- Wolverhampton (Sample Questions & Answers from Wolverhampton Grammar School)
Other CEM grammar schools are split into these grammar schools counties and regions. These use a combination of both the GL Assessment grammar school entrance exam and the CEM grammar school entrance exam:
- Berkshire has 6 grammar schools and one bilateral (a school that takes learners of all abilities as well as running a separate grammar school stream). 4 of these schools are in Slough, forming part of the Slough Consortium schools, while 3 (including the bilateral) are in Reading. All the selective grammar schools use CEM assessment, while the bilateral school in Reading makes use of the GL Assessments.
- Devon‘s grammar school entrance involves three separate Local Authorities. These include Devon County Council, Plymouth and Torbay. There are a total of 6 exclusive grammar schools and one bilateral school (a school that takes learners of all abilities as well as running a separate grammar school stream) in Devon. The Torbay and Colyton Grammar Schools make use of CEM assessment. Although the Plymouth schools use GL Assessment they also set some of the papers themselves.
- Trafford has 7 grammar schools. Each of them has their own entrance exam. Only one, Sale Grammar School (Mixed) use the CEM while the other 6 make use of GL Assessment and their own internal tests in some cases.
- Wiltshire has only 2 grammar schools. The one, Bishop Wordsworth’s (Boys) uses CEM and the other, South Wilts Grammar School (Girls) GL assessments.
- Yorkshire has 6 grammar schools spread out across 3 local authorities. Heckmondwike Grammar School (Kirklees; mixed) is the only one using the CEM, the others all use GL Assessment.
Grammars with their own tests
- Essex has 13 grammar schools. Eleven of these schools form the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE) and administer their own tests. Children who apply for a place at a CSSE school write 2 tests, each worth 60 marks.
- Hertfordshire no longer has any fully selective grammars schools. They do however have several partially selective schools. 7 of these in South West Hertfordshire administer their 11+ as a Consortium. They each have different criteria for admission though. There are a further 7 partially selective schools across Hertfordshire that administer their own tests. In some cases, these are not academic tests. Some of these schools base their selective places on sports or music aptitude.