Sir William Borlase_s Grammar School

20-4-2021 02:25| Publisher: admin| Views: 296| Comments: 0

Description: Sir William Borlase’s Grammar SchoolSchool introductionSir William Borlase’s Grammar School is a coeducational grammar school in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The school has around 1000 pupils aged 11 to ...

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School

School introduction

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School is a coeducational grammar school in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The school has around 1000 pupils aged 11 to 18. Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School was founded in 1624 at its present site.

Some of the school buildings date to the school’s foundation, and a chapel, a cloister and the school hall have been added in the centuries since. In 2004, a new performing arts centre was opened. In 2020, the school opened a new Sports Hall, and a new STEM Learning Centre is currently under construction. The school has its own theatre with professional sound and lighting systems.

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School is an academy, meaning it has more control over its curriculum than most schools. It specialises in the performing arts, and this specialism means that all students study music, drama and dance at Key Stage 3. Pupils may choose to continue with these subjects at GCSE and A-level, and currently around 60% of GCSE students choose to do so. The school has several orchestras and nine choirs.

In sports, the Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School Boat Club is internationally competitive. Hockey and rugby are also major sports, and the school competes in more than 20 sports.

School performance

In 2019, 47% of GCSE grades at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School were at level 8 or 9. In STEM subjects 84% of students achieved 9 to 7, and in Music this percentage was as high as 95%. The school’s Progress 8 score was 0.56, meaning that pupils achieve, on average, more than half a grade higher per subject in their GCSE examinations than other pupils with the same prior attainment.

At A-level, a quarter of students received straight A*/A grades in 2019, with 94% of all grades awarded at C or above.

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School has an Outstanding Ofsted rating.

Admissions information

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School intend to accept 150 pupils for Year 7 entry in 2022. To gain admission to Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School pupils must pass an 11+ exam. Parents must register their child for the exam in May or June the year before admission, and their child will then sit the test in Buckinghamshire in September. A practice test is held a couple of days before the test. Children who live in Buckinghamshire are automatically registered, and children from elsewhere must be registered on an online portal provided by Buckinghamshire County Council.

11+ results will be sent to parents in mid-October. After this, if their child has passed the exam, parents should name Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School on the Common Application Form of their Local Authority in order to complete their application. Parents should not submit a Common Application Form to Buckinghamshire County Council unless they live in Buckinghamshire.

If more than 150 students pass the 11+ exam priority is given to students on free school meals living in the catchment area, followed by applicants who live in the school’s priority admissions area and passed the exam. After these have been given places, children in the wider catchment area are prioritised, followed by siblings of existing students and finally all remaining students who passed the exam. In all these categories places are allocated based on the distance from an applicant’s home to the school, and 11+ exam scores are not taken into account other than to determine who has passed. The catchment area and the smaller Priority Admissions Area can be viewed on this map.

Unsuccessful children will be placed on a waiting list maintained by Buckinghamshire County Council.

It is also possible to join Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School for Sixth Form – the school intends to admit a minimum of 45 external students for 2022 entry. Applicants must submit an application directly to the school, and will be assessed based on GCSE results and the same oversubscription criteria that apply to entry to Year 7.

Admissions timeline


4 May - 24 June 2021

Parents who do not live in Buckinghamshire must register their child for the Buckinghamshire 11+ Exam on an online portal provided by Buckinghamshire County Council. Children attending Buckinghamshire state schools are automatically entered for the exam.

7 September 2021

A practice test is held for everyone registered to attend the 11+ Exam

9 September 2021

All applicants must sit the Buckinghamshire 11+ test, known as the Secondary Transfer Test.

15 October 2021

Parents receive the results of the Secondary Transfer Test.

Late October / Early November

Parents must name Sir William Borlase’s School on their Common Application Form and submit it to their Local Authority.

1 March 2022

Successful applicants receive offers to start at the school. Unsuccessful applicants will be placed on a waiting list.


11+ examination

Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, along with the other grammar schools in Buckinghamshire, uses the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test. The exam is set by the exam provider GL Assessment and overseen by Buckinghamshire County Council. The exam consists of two tests, each lasting 60 minutes, including practice questions. The tests are designed to measure verbal, numerical and non-verbal ability – the first test assesses verbal skills, while the second assesses mathematical and non-verbal skills. Verbal skills that are tested include grammar, punctuation, spelling and verbal reasoning. The second paper tests non-verbal reasoning, spatial reasoning and maths. Both papers are multiple-choice, and all questions are worth the same.

Students must achieve a mark of 121 in order to pass.

Sample test papers

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test uses the GL Assessment 11+ exam. You can find sample test papers and familiarisation materials for the GL Assessment here. GL Assessment also offer additional paid practice papers on their website.

Think Academy UK has compiled a guide to the GL Assessment, which includes a great range of free resources and sample test papers.

Buckinghamshire County Council will also send out an additional familiarisation booklet in the summer ahead of the test to all parents who have registered.

The 11+ exam only tests knowledge at Key Stage 2 level – pupils do not have to study beyond the curriculum. Often, the aspect of the test pupils struggle most with is the limited time available. This means it’s a good idea to use these familiarisation papers to practice under timed conditions.

Buckinghamshire County Council organise a practice test a couple of days before the real test date. This opportunity is open to all who intend to sit the 11+ exam in Buckinghamshire, and is a great opportunity to experience exam conditions and practice writing the test. This test is similar in structure and content to the real test. Details of the time and place of the practice test will be sent out to parents who are registered for the 11+ exam.

There are several additional things that parents can do to help their children prepare. They can ensure that children have experience of working quietly on their own, uninterrupted by noise or distractions.  They should also ensure that they do any homework that is set, and help their children to read with understanding, for example by asking them what certain words mean and what is happening in the book that they are reading.  Parents should also encourage children to solve problems by themselves and to look up things for themselves.

Additional information

-        Location: Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School is located on West Street in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, close to the town centre.

-        Boarding: Sit William Borlase’s School does not offer boarding, but it does operate a system of six houses. These houses form the basis of a vertical tutoring system, in which older pupils assist and tutor younger ones. Pupils also represent their houses in various competitions.

-        Literary connection: Mary Shelley lived next to the school when she wrote Frankenstein, and TS Eliot lived on the same street.

Frequently asked questions

My child is doing an 11+ test for another school that does not use the Buckinghamshire test. Will they still have to do the Buckinghamshire test?

Yes. All applicants must register for and complete the Buckinghamshire test.

Where do children attending out-of-county schools take the 11+ test?


Children attending out-of-county primary schools take the test at one of the Buckinghamshire grammar schools or at another central location.

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