11 Plus Schools

Buckinghamshire: 12+ & 13+ Late Transfer Procedure

The “Late Transfer Process”, commonly known as the 12+ or 13+, is almost unknown to most parents until their child’s 11+ results bring disappointment. This page aims to explain the process.

Please note: The advice on this page relates primarily to children who have already taken the Bucks 11+ and did not qualify. If you are moving into the area you can apply for immediate “in-year” testing to either Bucks County Council (Bucks CC) or your preferred grammar school, according to the table below.

12+/13+ testing by school

Since becoming academies a number of Bucks grammar schools have opted to set their own, in-house tests for late entry from 2013. Places will be allocated by highest score (or aggregate score where there are multiple tests), and usually only to pupils living in the catchment area of the school.

Other schools have elected to continue using the Bucks CC late transfer test, which is a verbal reasoning test in the style of GL Assessment papers (with an additional question type, detailed below). For these schools places will continue to be allocated by distance from school gates for all children achieving a score of 121 or higher in the test.

The table below summarises the test types by school.

Aylesbury Grammar School (Boys) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Aylesbury High School (Girls) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Beaconsfield High School (Girls) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Burnham Grammar School (Mixed) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Chesham Grammar School (Mixed) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Dr. Challoners Grammar School (Boys) In-house tests in English & Maths
Dr. Challoners High School (Girls) In-house tests in English & Maths
John Hampden Grammar School (Boys) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Royal Grammar School (Boys) In-house tests in English and Maths for Year 7 entry, plus Science for Year 8 entry
Royal Latin School (Mixed) Year 8 On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Sir Henry Floyd (Mixed) On line test in Verbal ability, Numerical ability, non-verbal ability, 75 minutes, administered by Bucks CC
Sir William Borlase (Mixed) In-house tests in English, Maths and a Modern Foreign Language
Wycombe High School (Girls) Verbal Reasoning, in the style of GL Assessment, and administered by Bucks CC

This page will be updated regularly as more information becomes available, but in the meantime, the information below relates to the central testing process administered by Bucks County Council. Some of the more general points also apply where testing will be undertaken in-house, but you will need to refer to the grammar schools themselves, either directly or through their websites, to check the key dates for applications and testing.

Should my child take the 12+/13+?

If your child has missed the 11+ by up to 4 or 5 points it is certainly worth them attempting the 12+. A lower score could also be worth a go, provided you really do believe that your child will be suited to a Grammar school.

The right to take the 12+/13+ test

If your child has not previously taken the Buckinghamshire 11+ (or the 12+ test in the case of the 13+ late transfer test) they can automatically be entered for the relevant test without you providing academic evidence of their suitability for testing.

If your child has previously taken the Bucks test there is no automatic right to take the Late Transfer test. You will need to provide academic evidence in support of your application, as follows:

1. Evidence that your child has achieved Level 5 in both Maths and English Key Stage 2 SATS.


2. If your child attended a school which did not undertake KS2 SATs you will need to provide a copy of the child’s school report for the end of the academic year.
If your application is not accepted at this stage, please read on to “What can I do if the application for my child to take the 12+ is turned down?”

What are my child’s chances of passing?

In 2011, 238 children took the 12+ and the pass rate was 68% (2010 = 77%, 2009 = 81%, 2008 = 76%). For the 13+, 71 children took the test and 41 passed (66%). The pass rate is obviously far higher than for the 11+ because it is a much more select group of children.

The 12+ has a reputation for being easier to pass than the 11+. The sensible explanation is that there are some children who need the additional 18 months maturity to prove themselves. Also, there is often less pressure on the child and less tension at school for the 12+, so those children who did not qualify for the 11+ because of nerves may be more relaxed for the 12+.

The 12+ is also age-standardised according to a national sample, rather than the “Bucks only” sample used for the 11+. Bucks children generally achieve higher standards than is the case nationally, so standardisation against a national sample can provide a few extra marks across the board for the 12+.

If my child passes, will he or she get a place at a Grammar School automatically?

NO! Places at Grammar Schools are not reserved for late transfer candidates. In the Late Transfer booklet, Bucks CC makes the following statement:

“… only a small number of pupils who qualify through the Late Transfer Procedure are offered a grammar school place each year.”

Of the 162 children who qualified via the 12+ in 2010, only 106 (65%) were allocated a place in Year 8; for the 13+, of the 47 children who qualified, 26 received grammar school places.

It will help if you live reasonably close to a school that is likely to have vacancies. Schools that are likely to have several places in Year 8 in 2012 are Chesham Grammar and The Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe. There may be a handful of places at Aylesbury Grammar and Aylesbury High School. Please remember that even if a school tells you in January that there is a space in Year 7, there are children who move into the area for in-year testing, so that space could be gone by the time 12+ or 13+ places are allocated in May.

Places for the 12+ are normally allocated using exactly the same criteria as places for the 11+, which are essentially sibling priority, catchment and distance from school gates. Dr Challoners Grammar School and Royal Grammar School are exceptions to this, as mentioned above.

When are the 12+ tests taken?

The date of the test has become progressively earlier, and in 2013 it will be taken on Saturday 2nd February 2013.

This is the full time-line for the process in 2011/2012:

  1. From 13th September 2012 Parents register on line for entry in September 2013 and provide school preferences
  2. 31 October 2012 Closing date for registrations for September 2013 entry and for receipt of school preferences and receipt of academic evidence.
  3. November 2012 onwards Applicants’ academic evidence is reviewed and decisions are released to parents.
  4. December 2012 Where testing is agreed, candidates are invited to take the test on Saturday 2nd February 2013.
  5. Late December 2012 onwards Appeals against refusal to test begin.
  6. 2 February 2013 Late Transfer testing sessions take place.
  7. 22 February 2013 Results of testing are published for those candidates who complete testing by 15 February 2013.
  8. 8 March 2013 Latest date for parents to request a selection review and to provide supporting information for the Selection Review Panel.
  9. 8 March 2013 Latest date for parents to provide proof of the child’s home address. The child has to be residing at this address on this date.
  10. Mar-April 2013 Selection reviews will be held between 9 March and 12 April
  11. 3 May 2013 Allocations letters are posted for those candidates who test results are known by 12 April 2013 and whose preferences were submitted by the deadline.
  12. June 2013 Transfer appeals begin. Waiting list position letters are sent to parents.
  13. 14 June 2013 2nd round allocations are made if places are available including those whose preferences were submitted after the deadline of 8 March 2013, but before 7 June 2013.
  14. July 2013 Transfer appeals continue. Further allocations are made if places are available.

Where is the test taken?

The tests are held at two or three central testing venues, usually Bucks senior schools.

How do I apply and when do we have to decide to try for the 12+?

You need to apply for the 12+ during the autumn term of Year 7. It is worth pointing out that provided your application has been accepted, you could still withdraw your child from the test up until the actual day if you wished to. This may give some parents additional thinking time. However, it would be courteous to call Bucks Admissions (01296 383250) at least 24 hours in advance to advise them that your child will not be taking the test on the day.

What can I do if the application for my child to take the 12+ is turned down?

You can request an appeal against “Refusal to Test”. Generally these appeals tend to be far more successful than other appeals, as a panel will often give the benefit of the doubt. The success rate for such appeals in recent years has been around 55 percent – 65 percent.

Should I change my preferred order of schools for the 12+ application form?

No, probably not. In common with all other admissions authorities, Bucks CC operates the Equal Preference System, which means that you should put your preferred school in first place, exactly as you did for the 11+, even if the school is unlikely to have vacancies. However, it would be very wise to make sure that your second preference school is your catchment school, it is likely to have vacancies and is one that (hopefully) you live fairly close to.

What does the test consist of?

The 12+ consists of only one Verbal Reasoning paper, rather than the two papers that make up the 11+. The test is exactly the same types of questions as for the 11+ – they are no harder. However, the 12+ test differs in 4 essential ways from the 11+:

  • It has 85 questions that must be completed in 45 minutes. (The 11+ is 80 questions in 50 minutes.)
  • It is also said that the 12+ contains a question type that is not one of the 21 types featured in the 11+ papers. It is apparently a numeric question, and is fairly easy. The example provided on the familiarisation paper is: “Multiply the first figure by the sum of the last two figures.” The numbers given are 6, 5, 5, and the sum is therefore 5 + 5 × 6 = 60.
  • In the 12+ the children are told not to write on the question paper, and are given scrap paper to use for their workings.
  • For the 12+ the answers are not shown on the answer sheet, but on the question sheet, which gives children a significant advantage over the 11+ , because they need to retain far less information their heads when locating the correct answer on the answer sheet. The answer sheet merely has boxes containing the letter name of the answers. The answers appear as in the following examples, and the child must simply draw a pencil line in the box across the letter of the correct answer:

1. |[ A ]| [ B ]| [ C ]| [ D ]| [ E ]|

2. |[ A ]| [ B ]| [ C ]| [ X ]| [ Y ]| [ Z ]|

If your application for your child to sit the 12+ is accepted you will receive a “Familiarisation Pack” from Admissions which will show most of these differences. You will (unless something changes radically) be very disappointed with it. It is a few photocopied sheets with around 10 sample questions. Regardless of your opinion please do go through it with your child because it contains the “sample answer sheet”, as outlined above.

So what other preparation should we do for the 12+?

This is a matter of personal choice – only you know your child and can decide if formal tutoring/coaching or just some light revision will be right for him/her.

If your child was a near miss for the 11+, s/he may understand the techniques very well by now. In particular, if your child was coached by an effective tutor for the 11+, then they will probably not need further formal coaching for the 12+. You may find that you just need to identify any weak spots and focus on those. However, the children do also seem to benefit from re-learning the speed at which they need to work by doing some practice papers in the run-up to the test.

Generally I have found that the earliest most people begin to prepare for the 12+ around three months ahead, so perhaps October half term would be a good choice with the new timings? For many children a “refresher course” beginning a month or so ahead of the test was sufficient preparation.

What happens if my child is unwell on the day of the 12+ test?

The same “rules” apply as for the 11+. Do not allow your child to take the test if they are unwell. Call Bucks CC Admissions immediately to advise them of the problem and they will arrange for a new test date.

My child didn’t achieve the qualifying mark for the 12+ – what should I do?

If your child’s score is fairly close to the qualifying mark – perhaps 116 – 120, and preferably as close to 121 as possible, and if you have a realistic chance of being offered a Grammar school place, then a Selection Appeal is worth considering. Please look at Etienne’s Appeals Q&A document, Section B

The further away your child’s mark is from 121, or the more difficult it is to be sure of being allocated a school place, the more seriously you should consider whether to put yourself and your child through the uncertainty and stress of an Appeal.

The success rate for 12+ qualification appeals is lower than that for the 11+, at around 25 – 30 percent.

My child qualified on the 12+, but we have not been given a Grammar school place – what should I do?

You can go to a Transfer Appeal – again, information about this is given in the Appeals Q&A document, Section C.

What about the 13+?

Everything above applies equally to the 13+. The paper is the same as that used for 12+ candidates, and the only change is the age standardisation of the results to allow for the older age group.

However, you should exercise caution when approaching the 13+ for two reasons.

Firstly, there are likely to be very few places at Bucks Grammars for successful 13+ candidates. Secondly, do you want to put your child through the testing process for what might be their third time if they have previously taken the 11+ and 12+ without success?

Page updated 23 Feb 2013