Which grammar schools have out of catchment places?

Can you apply for a grammar school place from anywhere? The answer is yes, if you apply for a school which does not have a catchment area.

The Henrietta Barnett School head Del Cooke in an interview with Magnus Education described how a child sat the school’s exam from the Isle of Wight, got in, after which the family moved to be nearer to Hampstead Garden Suburb.

“We try to encourage our families to think carefully about the distance because we don’t want them travelling extraordinarily long journeys, but at the same time it’s an amazing school so we draw from quite far. Some families will move if they get a place. It’s incredible what parents are prepared to do,” she said.

Henrietta Barnett has since changed its admission’s criteria to give priority to children living within three miles of the school but it is nonetheless common practice for a family to apply for a grammar school place for their child with the intention of moving nearer the school, if their child is successful.

Here is a list of some schools which have out of catchment places – which means your address is not taken into account when applying for the school.


Wolverhampton Girls’ High School

Places: 180

School does not have a catchment area. There is no pass mark. Test marks vary each year depending on the individual tests taken. The standardised test scores are sorted into rank order and places are awarded accordingly by Wolverhampton Local Authority.

Wolverhampton Girls’ High School – admissions

A number of girls’ schools offer out of catchment places.

Chelmsford County High School for Girls offers 36 out of catchment places, as well as in catchment places.

Chelmsford County High School for Girls – admissions

Southend High School for Girls offers about 30 out of catchment places.

Southend High School for Girls – admissions

Nonsuch High School for Girls awards 85 places irrespective of address based on two round of tests while Wallington High School for Girls offers 100 such places.

The Henrietta Barnett School (London)

Places: 100

The entrance test consists of two rounds. Round one will consist of a verbal, non-verbal and English test set by a nationally recognised body. Following the first round tests, the results of the verbal, non-verbal and English questions will be standardised, combined and placed in rank order. On the basis of this rank order, the top 300 candidates will be invited back to sit the second round of tests. The second round test is in English and mathematics. Following the second round test, the results will be standardised and combined with the results from the first round, and placed in rank order before being submitted to the Local Authority who will offer the highest ranked applicants in accordance with parental preference and over-subscription criteria. The results of both tests will be used to determine the final rankings.

Note: The school recently changed its admission’s criteria to give priority to children living within three miles of the school.

The Henrietta Barnett School – admissions


Queen Elizabeth’s School (Barnet)

Places: 180

All places allocated on academic ability by tests held in the autumn prior to the year of admission. Candidates sit two tests on the same day. The scores of tests are standardised and then combined. Those that meet a standard required by the governors – a combined score of 210 or higher – are then eligible to be considered to for admission to the school.

Queen Elizabeth’s School – Admissions

Colchester Royal Grammar School (Colchester, Essex)

Places: 128 places

Admission to is determined by a pupil’s position within the selection procedure organised by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE). This position is decided on the basis of the pupil’s standardised score in the selection tests. The selection procedure is open equally to pupils in Essex and those who live outside the county.

Colchester Royal Grammar School – admissions

Sir Thomas Rich, (Gloucester)

Places: 150

To be eligible for a place, pupils must achieve the qualifying standard in the admissions test which is designed by Durham University (CEM). The tests consist of multiple choice style questions on verbal ability (comprehension, vocabulary and verbal reasoning), numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Places are allocated taking into account the rank.

Sir Thomas Rich – admissions

Wilson’s School (Wallington)

Places: 186

Pupils take the Selective Eligibility Test. If a student is successful in the test, he will be invited to sit the Second Stage Entrance Examination for Wilson’s School. Places are awarded after a few exceptions according to their position in the rank order of standardised score in the entrance tests. The school states for practical reasons a boy shouldn’t have a journey of more than an hour in order that he may fully participate in the wider life of the school.

Wilson’s School – admissions

St. Olave’s Grammar School (Orpington)

Places: 124

Admission is on the basis of academic ability. Boys must first sit the School’s Selective Eligibility Test (SET), comprising logic, mathematics and English questions, designed to determine whether or not candidates are of the school’s required standard for a selective education. The required standard is on the basis of a rank order, with the top

450 candidates being invited back to sit the second round of tests. Boys passing the SET will then be invited to sit second stage tests in English and mathematics. Scores will be standardised and then aggregated, together with the SET marks, to allow a ranking of candidates.

St. Olave’s Grammar School – admissions

Marlin School (Stroud)

Places: 150

To gain entry all pupils must sit and pass an entrance test organised by the school. Boys who achieve a qualifying score in the Entrance Test will need to declare Marling School as one of their choices on their Common Application Form which must be submitted by 31 October, if they wish to gain a place. Out of county applications will be accepted for candidates who live outside Gloucestershire, however, parents/carers will need to contact their own local authority in relation to the Common Application Form. Places are awarded in test rank order.

Marlin School – admissions


Pate’s Grammar School (Cheltenham)

Places: 150

Admission to the school is on the basis of selection. The test consists of two papers, comprising multiple-choice questions on verbal ability, numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. A child meeting the qualifying standard is eligible to apply for the school.

Pate’s Grammar School – admissions

The Crypt School (Gloucester)

Places: 150

The school administers its own admission test. Pupils need to meet the “qualifying standard” in order to be considered for entry to the school. Places are awarded in rank order with a few exceptions.

The Crypt School – admissions

Colyton Grammar School (Colyton, Devon)

Places: 155

Entry is determined by performance indicating appropriate ability in the entrance tests. Applicants achieving eligible scores will be ranked on the basis of performance in the tests.

Colyton Grammar School – admissions

Also: Bexley grammar schools offer an unspecified number of OOC places which are given to students identified by Bexley Council as achieving “one of the highest scores in the selection tests.”

Leave a Reply