Senior School admissions FAQs

Application for 2017

  1. What sets Stockport Grammar School apart from other independent schools?
  2. If my child doesn’t attend Stockport Grammar Junior School, how well will they settle in to the senior school?
  3. Do children achieve more highly in single sex or co-educational schools?
  4. What sporting activities are available to first year pupils?
  5. Do you put pupils into sets?
  6. How do you provide pastoral care?
  7. What support is available to pupils with additional learning needs?
  8. Do you provide a school bus service?
  9. When is the senior school entrance exam and how do I apply for admission to the first year?
  10. What time is the school open to pupils?
  11. Can I visit the school?
  12. Do you offer financial assistance with fees?
  13. What co-curricular activities and trips do you offer to pupils?
  14. What curriculum do the children follow from the first year onwards?
  15. I still have questions, who can I speak to?

1. What sets Stockport Grammar School apart from other independent schools?

At Stockport Grammar we are committed to bringing out the best in every pupil. We aim to provide pupils with a broad education based on high academic standards and a first rate co-curricular programme. We see Stockport Grammar as a happy and purposeful community and we were very pleased when our latest full Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) report concluded that “the pupils’ overall achievement and their learning, attitudes and skills are outstanding.” The ISI described senior school pupils as “exceptionally well educated”.

Pupils at Stockport Grammar School find they can pursue excellence in their chosen area, be it one of the more traditional subjects, a creative area or elite sports. Our boys and girls are supported in their interests and we are especially proud of our expertise in helping pupils develop as individuals, whichever path they choose to follow.

Our traditional and rigorous curriculum is valued by universities and employers alike and year after year we do very well in the major league tables. Unlike many other major independent schools, we encourage all pupils to continue into the sixth form if they are able to cope with the academic rigour of A-levels and if their conduct and attitude have been satisfactory.

The ISI also found the personal development of pupils and the provision for co-curricular involvement to be outstanding. We offer an extensive programme of co-curricular activities from sport to music and drama as well as clubs for specific interests. Our teams enjoy success in regional and national competitions but our ethos is also to ensure that all children can enjoy participating in a range of activities. Our animal club and war gaming societies run alongside fencing, archery and a multitude of esoteric activities. Stockport Grammar School is an operating authority for the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme and regularly tops the north-west schools list for the number of awards received.

Our pupils’ personal development is supported by a strong pastoral team which links form tutors, Heads of Year, Heads of Section (Lower, Middle School and Sixth Form) and the Deputy Head (Pastoral). There is a strong sense of community and Sixth Form pupils volunteer to mentor the younger children through the First and Second Form friends schemes. The school house system also provides many opportunities for the year groups to collaborate. Our two full-time school nurses attend to both minor health complaints and long term medical conditions.

Continual investment in facilities, including the new Woodsmoor building and our extensive sports facilities, has created one of the best environments for teaching and learning in the country. We would be delighted to welcome you and your child for a visit.

Mr Andrew Chicken (Headmaster)

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2. If my child doesn’t attend Stockport Grammar Junior School, how well will they settle in to the senior school?

Between a third and a half of our first year intake is made up of children from Stockport Grammar Junior School and so there are many children from other schools. A number of pupils will be the only applicant from their school.

Understandably children can be nervous about making new friends but we have an extensive programme to make sure that everyone is taken care of and settles in happily.

In the summer term, pupils who are due to join the Senior School in September are invited to come to school for an induction day. On this day they meet the other children in their form and their form teacher, and are given an introduction to the school. From the day of the interview and during the settling in process we take time to get to know your child so we can support them as best we can.

Children are taught in their forms so they spend a lot of time together and soon make friends. All First Year pupils also go on a residential trip in the first half term, which gives them plenty of opportunities to get to know each other and their teachers in a more informal, relaxed environment. The First Year induction trip is included in the annual school fee.

Most importantly, if you ever have any concerns whatsoever about your child we would like you to come and speak to us about it: our door is always open!

Mrs Helen Lawson (Head of Lower School)

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3. Do children achieve more highly in single sex or co-educational schools?

There is no significant difference between the academic attainment of boys and girls at Stockport Grammar School and our co-educational ethos encourages children to follow their enthusiasms regardless of gender. Pupils also benefit from a co-educational staff with female and male role models across the subject areas.

We firmly believe that co-education brings both academic and social benefits to our pupils and prepares them for life in a co-educational world. Our extensive co-curricular programme provides many opportunities for girls and boys to learn together as they enjoy activities as wide ranging as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Model United Nations, drama productions and music.

We advise pupils on A-level and GCSE subject choices based on their academic goals and on their individual strengths and weaknesses. Gender stereotypes do not influence the options process here and Stockport Grammar School consistently has a higher proportion of girls opting for Science than the figures quoted in some sections of the press relating to girls’ schools.

Mrs Donna Harris (Deputy Head – Academic)

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4. What sporting activities are available to first year pupils?

The main winter games for boys are rugby and football and for girls are hockey and netball. In the summer, boys concentrate on cricket and athletics, whilst the girls focus their attention on tennis, athletics and rounders.

The PE curriculum is diverse with activities including badminton, ball skills, basketball, dance, hockey, gymnastics, health-related fitness, squash, swimming and volleyball. This is extended further with co-curricular activities such as archery, climbing, fencing and water polo.

We offer considerable challenge and opportunities for strong sports players with regular success in regional and national competitions but our approach is also to ensure that all children enjoy and participate in a range of sporting activities.

Mr Chris Wright (Head of PE)

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5. Do you put pupils into sets?

All our pupils have passed our entrance exam and as such are academically capable. We teach in mixed ability form groups for the first three years, except for Maths where limited banding takes place at the start of Second Year and setting is introduced at the start of third year.

We provide academic support to children through regular and detailed monitoring of their performance. Where a pupil excels in a certain subject, we provide extension work so that they remain engaged and challenged and to ensure they make progress in their learning. When children experience difficulties within a subject, teachers are available to provide help either informally, by appointment or through the regular subject clinics that are arranged. Again this ensures that all of our children make good academic progress.

This mixed ability approach works very well for our children; providing opportunities for them to work and learn together in the classroom.

Mrs Donna Harris (Deputy Head – Academic)

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6. How do you provide pastoral care?

We believe it is the right of every child to feel happy and secure. Along with high quality teaching, we are also dedicated to providing excellent pastoral care. Families appreciate the warmth of relationships between teachers, pupils and their parents, which ensures that your son or daughter will be known as an individual.

Form Tutors
Form tutors are primarily responsible for the pastoral care of pupils in their form. Pupils see their form tutors every morning and afternoon at registration and can ask about any uncertainties, however small they may seem. Form tutors take the time to get to know each child individually and discuss with parents any difficulties that may arise.

Heads of Year and Heads of Section
Form tutors work closely with the Heads of Year and Heads of Section who have overall responsibility for the pastoral care of each child in their year group/section and ensure appropriate support as children progress through the school. Our Heads of Year and Heads of Section are:

Lower School (First to Third Year)
Head of First Year – Mrs Suttle
Head of Second Year – Dr Zanda (Assistant Head of Second Year – Mr Breffit)
Head of Third Year – Miss Withington
Head of Lower School – Mrs Lawson

Middle School (Fourth and Fifth Year)
Head of Fourth Year – Mr Clarke
Head of Fifth Year – Miss Hindley
Head of Middle School – Mrs Smith

Sixth Form
Head of Lower Sixth – Mrs Britton
Head of Upper Sixth – Mrs Ashton
Head of Sixth Form – Mr Stone

Assemblies and Form Periods
Each week, each year group usually has two assemblies and three form periods or three assemblies and two form periods.

Form periods are extended registration times and are used to cover pastoral curriculum topics in addition to those being covered in Life Studies lessons (please see the links below). Form periods for the first years are particularly aimed at ensuring pupils settle in and become confident in their new environment.

Middle School and Sixth Form pupils usually meet together for a weekly assembly, with Lower School pupils meeting together later in the week. Assembly speakers include the Headmaster, Deputy Heads, Heads of Section/Year, other members of staff and visiting speakers. These assemblies regularly include a Christian hymn and prayer. The Deputy Head (Pastoral) and the School Chaplain work closely with a team of Sixth Form pupils who lead Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish faith assemblies.

Each year group also usually has its own assembly on a fortnightly basis, led by the Head of Year or Head of Section. There are also weekly House assemblies (see below).

First to Third Year – Form Periods and Year Gatherings (pdf)

Fourth Year – Form Periods and Year Gatherings (pdf)

Fifth Year – Form Periods and Year Gatherings (pdf)

Life Studies – First to Fifth Year (pdf)

Sixth Form (pdf)

Lower School Friends
Starting at a new school can sometimes be a daunting prospect. The Lower School Friends scheme is run by Lower Sixth pupils who give their time to help First Year pupils settle into their new environment. A small number of Lower Sixth pupils are attached to each First Year form and they visit the forms regularly, helping First Year pupils to find their way around in the first few weeks and reassuring or advising them as they settle into school life.

Lower School Friends also work with Second Year forms, again visiting the forms regularly and helping and advising pupils.

School Nurses
Pupils benefit from the support of two full-time school nurses, Mrs Ward and Mrs Kenny. The school nurses build good communication links between staff, pupils and parents to make sure all pupils are well cared for as individuals.

The school nurses are responsible for developing protocols and care plans for the administering of medicines in school and the management of existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy.

The school nurses work in partnership with teaching staff to deliver and advise on pastoral curriculum topics such as body image.

The pastoral care provided by the pastoral team and nurses is additionally supported by counsellors from Beacon Counselling in Stockport who are available in school to support pupils on a one-to-one basis on a range of pastoral matters.

House System
Every pupil is assigned to one of the school’s four Houses: Arden, Nicholson, Warren and Vernon. The Houses have a family atmosphere, with pupils from all year groups meeting each week for their House’s assembly. There are regular inter-House competitions and everyone can take part, either as a player in a team or as a supporter. These competitions give pupils the opportunity to work as a team and to exercise responsibility and organisational skills.

Liaison between Parents and School
Pupils receive regular effort grades and reports and there are parents’ evenings for each year group. In addition, there are information evenings at the start of the academic year for parents of particular year groups. The First Year Information Evening allows parents to meet their son’s or daughter’s Form Tutor, the Head of First Year and the Head of Lower School. The Fourth Year Information Evening provides parents with vital information as their son or daughter embarks on their GCSE courses and the Sixth Form Information Evening covers A-level and university application information. The pastoral team also organise parent information evenings with speakers from external agencies covering subjects such as drugs and alcohol.

If at any time there are concerns about your son’s or daughter’s progress you can expect members of the pastoral team or teaching staff to contact you. We also encourage parents to contact us should they have any concerns about their son’s or daughter’s progress. The Form Tutor or Subject Teacher would usually be the initial point of contact for parents but Heads of Year/Section and Heads of Department can be contacted as necessary. Members of staff can easily be contacted by phone or by email.

Mrs Jo White (Deputy Head – Pastoral)

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7. What support is available to pupils with additional learning needs?

We aim to identify additional learning difficulties as early as possible and to put strategies in place that will enable pupils to overcome their individual barriers to learning. All teachers have access to a bank of strategies known to be effective with pupils with a range of difficulties, and this resource is regularly updated to reflect recognised best practice.

For those pupils in need of more individualised support, a Pupil Summary is created with input from the pupil, parents, teachers and, where appropriate, outside agencies. The Pupil Summary details the pupil’s strengths, interests and ambitions as well as their particular difficulties and gives clear advice as to how subject teachers can best support them. Pupils themselves are also given guidance as to what they need to do to achieve their potential. The Summary gives information about any additional support that is available to the pupil through the Learning Support Department and lists any examination access arrangements that the pupil may have been granted or that may be under consideration.

Pupils may access additional support in one or more of the following ways:

  • Literacy Club, which takes place in the first half of the lunch hour one day a week. This gives pupils of all ages the opportunity to develop spelling, reading and touch-typing skills using a range of independent learning programs
  • In-class or small group support provided by the Maths and English departments during timetabled lessons in First Year
  • Timetabled Learning Support groups focusing on literacy, numeracy and study skills in Second and Third Year
  • Timetabled Learning Support groups focusing on English, Maths, Science and study skills in Fourth and Fifth Year
  • One-off or regular one-to-one appointments with a member of the Learning Support Department for pupils of all ages

Mrs Sarah Boardman, Head of Learning Support, also runs a drop-in session on Tuesday mornings from 8am-8.50am for any pupil who would like to discuss their learning support needs.

Mrs Donna Harris (Deputy Head – Academic)

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8. Do you provide a school bus service?

Children travel to school using private and public buses and by rail to Woodsmoor and Davenport stations. Our location on the A6 means that we are well served by transport links. The travel section of the website gives information on routes and times.

Mrs Helen Lawson (Head of Lower School)

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9. When is the senior school entrance exam and how do I apply for admission to the first year?

The entrance exam for admission to the First Year in September 2018 is Wednesday 10th January 2018. If you would like to apply for admission to the First Year in September 2018 please contact Margaret Connor on 0161 419 2409 or by email at connorm@stockportgrammar.co.uk. The closing date for applications is Friday 15th December 2017. 

To register for the entrance exam please complete the application form and return it at your earliest convenience. Full details of how to register can be found here.

If you would like to enquire about admission at another age please contact Margaret Connor on 0161 419 2409.

Mrs Margaret Connor (Admissions)

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10. What time is the school open to pupils?

Children are welcome to come into school from 8am. The library is open and children can purchase a breakfast in the dining hall. Registration is at 8.40am.

After the end of the school day at 3.50pm, children are welcome to stay at school for co-curricular activities or can be supervised in the library until 5.30pm.

Mrs Helen Lawson (Head of Lower School)

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11. Can I visit the school?

You are very welcome to visit us.

We have a number of open events throughout the year, during which you will have the opportunity to tour the school and speak to members of the teaching staff. If you would also like to arrange to visit during a working school day, please contact Margaret Connor on 0161 419 2409.

Mrs Margaret Connor (Admissions)

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12. Do you offer financial assistance with fees?

We offer a limited number of means-tested bursaries each year. These provide assistance to those parents whose income is such that they would not otherwise be able to pay full fees. The school has insufficient resources to satisfy the demand for assistance each year and so the allocation of these awards is based on the child’s performance in the entrance procedure. The amount of assistance available is based on an annual declaration of income and assets. More information is available in the fees section of the website.

Shaa scholarships are not means-tested and are awarded on the basis of outstanding performance in the 11+ entrance procedure. The scholarships were introduced to mark the 525th anniversary of the school’s foundation in 1487. Each scholarship gives a reduction of £1,000 on each full year’s fees.

Music scholarships are awarded to children who have already reached a high standard on one or more instrument and show outstanding musical potential. Music scholarships are not means-tested.

Mr Chris Watson (Bursar)

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13. What co-curricular activities and trips do you offer to pupils?

We are very proud of our co-curricular provision which was judged to be outstanding in the school’s most recent full ISI inspection. Whether your child is sporty, musical, dramatic, thoughtful, competitive, curious, caring or creative, there is something to inspire.

At our clubs and activities fair in early September, we encourage all new pupils to join in and challenge themselves by trying a range of activities. This is an excellent opportunity for them to make friends and extend their comfort zones. Furthermore, for many boys and girls, the clubs they join in the First Year open the door to a life-long passion.

Large numbers of pupils and staff throughout the school are involved in visits, trips, language exchanges and outdoor activity programmes which are well established and widely enjoyed both in term time and during the holidays. Details of forthcoming trips are available on the website to help pupils and parents plan ahead.

The trip opportunities offered at Senior School are so many and varied that pupils generally choose between them on the basis of interest and cost. The most expensive trips, such as the recent trip to Borneo, are attended by smaller numbers of pupils who usually work together to raise some of the necessary funds. For a child in receipt of a bursary, the school may contribute towards the cost of certain trips.

Mr Ben Bowles (Deputy Head)

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14. What curriculum do the children follow from the first year onwards?

The lower school curriculum is designed to suit the particular abilities of our own pupils, offering a wide and varied programme of study. Nearly all who join the First Year have followed the national curriculum for Key Stages One and Two. Stockport Grammar School does not follow the national curriculum slavishly, but each subject shadows requirements of Key Stage Three. Full details of the Lower School curriculum are available in the Lower School handbook.

Towards the end of the Second Year, pupils make a small number of choices over their subjects for the Third Year. They are asked to choose languages from French, German, Latin and Spanish, and are also asked to choose creative subjects from Art, Design Technology, Food Technology and Music. Pupils and their parents attend an options evening to provide all the information needed to make their choices.

In the Third Year, pupils are asked to make their choices for GCSEs. Mathematics, English Language, English Literature, Science and a modern language are compulsory. Most pupils are entered for nine subjects at GCSE. Careers staff and Form Tutors advise pupils on their subject choices and they all attend an options evening (along with their parents) in the January of their Third Year. Here they are given more help and information as to how to make their choices and options are finalised later in that term. The Middle School handbook contains full details on the range of GCSE options.

A range of over twenty subjects is offered in Sixth Form. Pupils are given support throughout the Fifth Year to help them with their selection of subjects; this includes a Sixth Form evening which they attend with their parents. The Sixth Form handbook provides pupils with detailed subject information.

Sixth Formers begin with four subjects and later decide to continue with either three or four subjects to A-level. Each is allocated 10 hours of teaching per 10-day cycle in Lower Sixth, and 11 hours in Upper Sixth. Pupils are expected to spend three to four hours per week outside of lessons on academic work in each subject; this includes homework and extension work such as wider reading. Wednesday afternoons are for games or voluntary service.

Sixth Formers who study three subjects either participate in the Enrichment Programme for two hours per cycle or the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) – an independent research project. The enrichment programme seeks to develop knowledge and skills in areas beyond the academic curriculum. Those students who choose to continue with four subjects to A-level may opt to participate in the EPQ as well if they wish.

Mrs Donna Harris (Deputy Head – Academic) 

15. I still have questions, who can I speak to?

If you have any further queries you would like to discuss please do not hesitate to contact Margaret Connor on 0161 419 2409.

Mrs Margaret Connor (Admissions)

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