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Entrance Exam

The entrance exam is taken by every child who applies to join the first year at age 11.

The exam is held at the school in the January before the child’s year of entry. Candidates spend the whole day at school and a free lunch is provided.

The entrance exam for admission to First Year in September 2021 takes place on Wednesday 13th January 2021 and the closing date for applications is Friday 11th December 2020.

The arrangements for the entrance exam in 2021 will be in accordance with Government guidelines on Covid-19. It may therefore be necessary to make some adaptations to the running of the day. Parents will be contacted in advance if there are significant changes.

Please visit our Senior School admissions page to find out how to apply.

We recognise that the academic progress of some children will have been adversely affected by the period of school closure. Please be reassured that the school will take this into account when looking at Entrance Examination performances and making admissions decisions.

If you would like to inquire about First Year entry in September 2020, we may be able to consider late applications subject to the availability of places. Please contact Admissions Officer Margaret Connor on 0161 419 2409 or by email at for further information.

Clothing, equipment and collection

Candidates should wear comfortable, casual clothes – not school uniform.

Parents will receive their child’s exam number, a list of items they need to bring with them and car parking details a few days before the exam.


Applicants take three papers – two before lunch and one in the afternoon: English, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning.


Our Entrance paper in English will consist of two sections – comprehension and creative writing.


  • Pupils will be provided with an unseen passage
  • Pupils will then have to answer 40 multiple choice questions that test their ability to:
    • Understand the events of the passage
    • Make accurate inferences based on what they have read
    • Define certain words from the passage based on their context within it
    • Identify the grammatical function of certain words from the passage, based on how they are operating
    • Appreciate the way that characters have been depicted within the passage.
  • This should take 30 minutes
  • Pupils should attempt every question.

Creative Writing

  • Pupils will be provided with a choice between two writing tasks:
    • One task will provide them with an image and ask them to write a description or a story suggested by it
    • The other will provide them with an opening line and ask them to write a story or a description that begins with it.
  • This should take 30 minutes.
  • Pupils should aim to write three developed paragraphs and spend the last five minutes, at least, proof reading their work as carefully as possible.


  • 60 minutes

The mathematics exam tests present knowledge and potential for future mathematical development.


The syllabus is that of national curriculum mathematics key stage two. No knowledge beyond this is assumed.

Metric units will be used with their standard abbreviations:

  • length (mm, cm, m, km)
  • area (cm², m² etc)
  • volume (m³ etc)
  • capacity (cm³, ml, l)
  • mass (mg, g, tonne)
  • currency (£, pence)

Any use of imperial or foreign units will be fully explained.


All questions are to be attempted, in any order. Space is given on the paper for working and answers. Credit is given for correct working even if the final answer is missing or wrong.

The first page of the exam tests arithmetic. The exam continues with other parts of the syllabus. Later questions require the candidate to understand and think beyond their normal mathematical experience (but without any knowledge beyond key stage two mathematics).

Verbal reasoning

  • 50 minutes

Candidates are asked to attempt general knowledge questions and answer questions based on the information that is given.

Sample papers

A complete 11+ entrance exam paper is available to download, in order to give your child some familiarity with the style of paper which he/she will see on 13th January 2021.

Download the English entrance exam paper and answers (pdf)

Download the Maths entrance exam paper (pdf)

Download the Maths entrance exam answers (pdf)

Download the VR entrance exam paper (pdf)

Download the VR entrance exam answers (pdf)