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Are you considering a grammar school for your child?

Published Monday, 4th June 2018

4 students on beach

Local children currently in Year 5 are urged to consider one of Southend’s grammar schools as a place for them to grow and flourish in the future.

Southend has four outstanding grammar schools, designed for pupils performing in the top 25% at primary school. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is hoping for more of the places at these schools to be given to Southend’s pupils, rather than those out of the borough. To do this, more local children need to register to take the 11 Plus test, so anyone who is due to start Year 7 in September 2019 and who is currently performing in the top 25% is urged to consider taking the exam.

Registering can be done online, fuss-free. The 11 Plus exam consists of two tests, an English and a Maths paper. There are practice questions online at Southend 11 Plus, that will give you and your child an idea of the types of questions that will be included. There will be open days, and help available in the summer holidays for those who have questions about the test itself, or grammar school life.

Grammar schools, contrary to popular belief, are not expensive and solely for well-off families. If your child is entitled to free school meals, financial support will be available from the grammar school, including support for broadband internet connection, computer equipment costs, transport to school, and free school trips. Help is also available up to the total cost of uniform for those eligible for free school meals. There are no fees to attend Southend’s grammar schools.

Moving to Year 7 is a daunting but exciting time for children, and they can expect to make many new friends in the process, without losing touch with their old friends. It’s understandable that some children may be concerned about going to a different school to their closest friends, but grammar schools, as with all high schools, are well set-up to support children in the transition, and to encourage new and lasting friendships.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is launching a campaign to make local families aware of the deadlines for registering for the 11 Plus exam. This follows the success of the 2017 campaign, that resulted in 200 more local pupils sitting the exam vs 2016.

There is a wealth of information on a website that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has created to support parents and pupils through their decision-making process. Those wishing for more information are urged to visit the Southend 11 Plus website.

Councillor Helen Boyd, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning said: “This is all about giving choice to local pupils. Those who are performing in the top 25% at primary school may wish to consider a grammar school for their future education. Our borough’s grammar schools are all excellent, and it is our wish that as many spaces as possible go to Southend’s pupils, if they decide they would like to take them up. Taking, and even passing the 11 Plus does not mean a child has to go to a grammar school, but it does mean they will have the choice.”