The Crypt School expert insight: How to apply for a grammar school

Parents and pupils hoping to secure a place at a Gloucestershire grammar school can benefit from The Crypt School's expert insight, sharing advice and information about the application process.

Find out more about the grammar school application process, in this expert interview with The Crypt School.
Find out more about the grammar school application process, in this expert interview with The Crypt School.

Whether you’re aiming to secure a place in Year 7 or the Sixth Form, the application process for a grammar school involves research and preparation; but it needn’t fill you with dread.

Established in 1539, The Crypt school in Gloucester has been giving SoGlos its advice on how best to apply for a grammar school place in the county.

Offering outstanding teaching, an enriching extra-curricular programme and a strong focus on pastoral care, the team at The Crypt School is perfectly placed to advise parents across the county on the application process.

Read on to discover The Crypt School’s expert tips…

Where do you begin if your child is looking to start Year 7?

Entry into Year 7 at The Crypt School, like all seven of the grammar schools in Gloucestershire, is via an entrance test which is sat by children in the September of Year 6.

Parents need to register their child for the test in the June of the year when they want their child to be tested – when their child is usually Year five. Parents can register their child for the entrance test on The Crypt School’s website.

They can then specify which school they would physically like their child to sit the exam at, but as more children sit the test each year, you might find your child is allocated to a different school to actually take the test. However, there’s no need to worry: all seven schools administer the same test, so it doesn’t really matter where your child sits the test.

Results are emailed or posted to parents about one month after the test, and before parents have to complete the Local Authority Common Application Form (CAF). This is the form that parents use to apply for up to four secondary school preferences for their child. Having your child’s entrance test result before the submission of the CAF means that parents will know if their child has met the qualifying standard for the grammar school or schools that they’re interested in.

The Crypt School gives its admissions advice

Do parents need to inform the school if their child has passed?

If your child sits the entrance test at The Crypt School for example, then The Crypt will automatically receive your child’s results; if you wish the other grammar schools to also receive your child’s entrance test results, then you must also share those results with the other schools.

If you do not share your child’s results with the other applicable grammar schools, then they will not be able to consider your child for entry.

It’s also worth remembering that the rankings you receive from The Crypt School will not be comparable to the single sex grammar schools; this is due to the increased applications the school has received since changing to a co-educational entry and which has doubled the number of children sharing their results with us.

The Crypt School gives its admissions advice

How does the application process work when applying for a place in Sixth Form?

At The Crypt School, the application process for the Sixth Form begins when students move into Year 11. The Crypt School has its own Sixth Form application form, which can be found on our website, together with details of the A Level courses offered and the entry criteria.

The school also holds a Sixth Form open evening in November each year, and all prospective sixth form students and their families are invited to attend. Application forms have to be submitted to the School by the January of Year 11.

Those who wish to study at The Crypt School Sixth Form will have to meet the entry requirements as set out in the Sixth Form Prospectus and Information booklet. To study a particular A Level, students will have to achieve a particular grade in that subject, or a related subject at GCSE.

The Crypt School gives its admissions advice

What preparation can parents and children do to improve their chances at getting a place?

Entry to any of the seven grammar schools is based solely on academic ability, which is demonstrated by a child’s performance in the entrance test. Sample test papers are available on each of the grammar schools’ websites; I suggest parents download these and go through them with their child to ensure they are familiar with the format of the test.

Ultimately, the test looks at academic potential with a focus on numerical understanding and literacy. Therefore, children should be encouraged to read widely and undertake the more demanding maths work that is available in their primary schools.

Are there any preconceptions about applying for a grammar school?

There are certainly a lot of different views about grammar schools. The Crypt School is a traditional grammar school, in that its intake is socially diverse and still drawn largely from the City of Gloucester itself and the surrounding areas.

Grammar schools were founded to educate bright children, regardless of their backgrounds; this grammar school vision strongly informs our work at The Crypt today.

Parents shouldn’t think that grammar schools aren’t for their children; children from disadvantaged backgrounds will have additional financial support through the Pupil Premium fund and in the sixth form, through the bursary fund.

And, although grammar schools are principally academic in their focus and work, most are also able to offer all pupils a full range of enrichment and extra-curricular opportunities through which all pupils can develop their personal qualities and a set of key skills.

The Crypt School gives its admissions advice

What advice would you give to someone hoping to secure a place at The Crypt?

If you are a student in Year 11 hoping to attend The Crypt School’s Sixth form, then clearly there is no better advice than to work hard in your studies this year, so you achieve the GCSE grades needed for entry.

If you are moving into Year 5 or 6, and hope to attend The Crypt in Year 7 in September 2019 or 2020, then work hard at your literacy and numeracy work at school. Do undertake some of the practice tests that are available; but don’t overly worry about the entrance test – see it as an opportunity for you to demonstrate what you know and understand at that particular point in time.

Remember also, that there are some very good non-selective secondary schools in Gloucestershire, and the pupils who attend those schools do very well indeed if they work hard.

Many pupils from the non-selective secondary schools in Gloucestershire go on to study at one of the grammar school sixth forms, having achieved well in their GCSE exams; this year for example, The Crypt School’s Sixth Form has welcomed over 50 students from other schools in the county.

For more information about The Crypt School, call (01452) 530291, or visit directly.

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