This is the question I get asked the most as a tutor. And even if parents don’t ask it directly, I know that it’s always lurking in the background somewhere…!
School entrance exams are very stressful for pupils and parents alike, and it would be nice to be able to reassure them by giving them all the pass marks for their target schools. Unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than that.
Schools adjust the marks from Common Entrance exams at 11+ and 13+ to allow for the different ages of the children. Some will have a birthday late in the school year, which means they’ll be ‘young for their year’, and it’s generally agreed that it would be unfair to penalise those children by asking them to compete directly against other pupils who might be up to 12 months older than they are.
That’s a big difference at such a young age, so schools ‘standardise’ marks using a formula that adjusts for the relative age of each pupil. That formula also includes adjustments for various other factors, so it’s impossible to know in advance what your child’s standardised score will be.
On top of that, schools don’t often publish their pass marks, so what are pupils and their parents to do?
Well, if you can get hold of your child’s standardised score – and that’s a big if! – then you can at least check whether that score has been good enough in the past to guarantee a place at certain schools. There’s a website called elevenplusexams.co.uk that has posted what they call ‘Entry Allocation Scores & Collated Cutoffs’ for a few schools in Essex. You can find the 2019 figures here, and you can also find out the results and offers for Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls here. If your chosen schools are not on those sites, feel free to search for them online.
I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, but at least that’s a start.