The Essential one stop shop on 11 Plus for parents

The Essential one stop shop on 11 Plus for parents

Choosing where your child should go for secondary school can be one of the most difficult decisions a parent has to make. Here we enlist the help of Explore Learning to aid parents in preparing for these choices and exams.

Combine the 'which school?' choice decision with the question over whether or not they should take an entrance exam or the 11 Plus and then compound that with the fact that almost every area and every school has different testing procedures and unique admission rules for allocating places and it can be the ultimate academic minefield!

However, help is at hand as Explore Learning, the UK’s leading provider of extra tuition, which runs hundreds of courses nationwide for children preparing for their 11 Plus or entrance exam – has created an essential one stop shop for parents at

Populated with dozens of pages of accessible, easy to read information around the core subjects of verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths and English (including comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling), the platform makes it incredibly simple for parents trying to work out what these entrance exams mean and the depth of knowledge their children will require.

As there is no one size fits all approach, Explore Learning have created an interactive map which details which schools run entrance exams in the UK. On clicking on your area you’ll see a list of schools together with key information about admissions to the grammar schools plus information about the highly popular and competitive ‘partially selective schools’ that exist in some areas.

Each school in England and Northern Ireland has its own dedicated page which lists information about its status (e.g. grammar, academy etc.), the number of pupils, whether its single sex or mixed, and key application, testing and results dates to ensure parents act in time.

The website also provides a thorough explanation of the difference between the two main types of exam, GL and CEM, as well as an essential glossary of terms. There is also a timed quiz that uses real past exam questions so children can test their speed and accuracy – and parents can have a go too! And for members of Explore Learning, there are leagues of online home practice resources meaning they can practise whenever, and wherever, they want. With brand new questions in every test, options to choose specific styles of question and the ability to follow a guided course which grows in difficulty as you progress, practice will make perfect! Its advanced analysis tools highlight skills that a child is excelling in – and those that need further work.

Katie Williams, Curriculum Development Manager at Explore Learning says: “We have been running our 11 Plus course in our centres ever since 2001 which has proved hugely popular. This new platform is a natural extension of our courses that we hope will become a lifeline to parents confused over legislation and the minefield of the entrance exam process .

“We get so many questions in centres where parents feel like they’re completely in the dark when it comes to these CEM, GL and 11 Plus tests. Before, parents would have to trawl through hefty paperwork from their chosen schools but we’ve done that for them. With so much information all in one place we can be the authority on entrance exams – knowing what they mean and where they are – and whether they’re suitable for your child as quite often that is the first question to ask. Parents need to know what’s in store and by checking out the types of questions asked they’ll know if it’s right for their child.”

As well as the new portal, available to view at, Explore Learning run around 130 courses in 11 Plus and exam preparation all over the UK. Running 12 months before the exam, the courses cost just £26 extra than their standard membership. Children generally attend one flexible session where they are building on core curriculum skills and one 11 Plus session per week focusing on subjects focused on in the exams.

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