Selective schools

Find out about applying for the selective grammar schools and how to register for the selection tests.

Within North Yorkshire there are three selective grammar schools:

  • Ermysted's Grammar School
  • Ripon Grammar School
  • Skipton Girls' High School

These schools admit children based on their performance in tests which are designed to identify academic potential. The selection tests take place in September the year before children are due to transfer from primary to secondary school.

The selection test is different for each of the three schools and more information can be found below.

Registering for and sitting the entrance test is not an application for a place at the school. Parents/carers must also name the school on the common application form and submit this to their home local authority by the closing date for applying for a secondary school place. This applies to year 7 entry in September only.

It is your responsibility to make sure you are also familiar with the wider applications process and with the timeline and deadlines involved.

In year selection testing

Please complete the selection test request application form using the link below. For further information about in year selection testing, please see the Ripon Grammar School frequently asked questions. 

Ripon Grammar School

We are responsible for the organisation of the selection tests for Ripon Grammar School only and the information on the tests on this page relates to Ripon Grammar School only.

For information about entry to Ermysted's Grammar School and Skipton Girls' High School, please go to the bottom of this page.

In area pupils who attend an in area primary school

Pupils who live in the Ripon catchment area and go to a primary school in the catchment area will receive a registration letter early in the summer term. The letter and reply form asks you to confirm whether or not you wish your child to sit the test, or whether you wish to withdraw your child from the test. If you do not reply by the deadline 26th June, we will assume you do not wish your child to be tested and we will withdraw them.

If your child attends a primary school in the Ripon selective area this does not mean that your child is 'in area'. The determining factor is your child’s principal place of residence.

Pupils who live in the catchment area for Ripon Grammar School and attend a primary school outside of the Ripon catchment area - you need to make an application to sit the selection test by 30 June 2023.

Pupils who live outside the catchment area for Ripon Grammar School who attend a primary school outside of the Ripon catchment area and any pupil attending an independent school - you will need to make an application to sit the selection test by 30 June 2023.

If you move into the Ripon area at any point in the summer term onwards, it is your responsibility to inform us that you wish your child to be included in the selection test and to notify us if any special arrangements are required under the Equality Act 2010.

What secondary schools are there to choose from in the Skipton and Ripon areas?

Skipton and Ripon are the two selective areas in North Yorkshire at secondary school level. When you are filling in your secondary schools application form, you will need to give several preferences. You can find advice about preferencing here. The following are all the maintained secondary schools located in these areas (not including independent schools.)

You can find information about the different types of schools here.


School Information about applying
Ermysted's Grammar School A voluntary-aided selective school for boys. Apply online here for a place and read the information on this page about the selective admissions tests.
Skipton Girl's High School A selective academy for girls. Apply online here for a place and also contact the school to fill in their own admissions form, and to find out about their own selection tests which the school administers independently.
Skipton Academy  A non-selective school for boys and girls in a selective area. Apply online here for a place. This school does not require selection tests, but if you are preferencing a selective school among your choices, your child will need to sit the test.
Upper Wharfedale School A non-selective school for boys and girls in a selective area. Apply online here for a place. This school does not require selection tests, but if you are preferencing a selective school among your choices, your child will need to sit the test.


School Information about applying
Ripon Grammar School A selective school for boys and girls (which includes up to 14 boarding places in year 7 each year). Apply online here for a place and read the information on this page about the selective admissions tests.
Outwood Academy A non-selective academy for boys and girls in a selective area. Apply online here for a place. This school does not require selection tests, but if you are preferencing a selective school among your choices, your child will need to sit the test.
Apply to sit the selection test for entry into Ripon Grammar School only

The application round to sit the test for entry into Year 7 in September 2024 opens from 3 April 2023. The closing date to apply to sit the selection test is 30 June 2023.

If you feel you have an exceptional reason for a late application such as moving home into the catchment area, or a serious illness that can be supported with medical evidence please contact us.

You can find this year's deadline on our timelines page.

The application round to sit the late tests in April 2023 will open on 16 January 2023.

Apply for selection testing at Ripon Grammar School

About the selection test

The selection tests for pupils transferring from primary to secondary school in September 2024 will be held on Saturday 9 September 2023 at Ripon Grammar School. You can find this year's dates here.

Each child will sit one set of tests. On the test day each child will take two papers, one Verbal Reasoning (VR) lasting 50 minutes and one Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) test that consists of four sections lasting ten minutes each. These tests are produced for North Yorkshire local authority by GL Assessment.

Details such as when to arrive and what to bring with you will be included in an information letter that will be posted to you the last week of August.

Preparing for the test: sample questions

GL Assessment have produced familiarisation booklets which include examples to indicate the range of skills required to complete the assessment and the manner in which questions are answered. The booklets are not definitive and the inclusion of any question types does not guarantee that they will be found in the actual test that will be taken. GL Assessment have also made available via their own website free familiarisation material. You can access the 11+ Familiarisation Materials here.

These booklets are subject to copyright and must not be reproduced, photocopied, sold or distributed in any form or by any means.

These documents are intended as download only and are not in an accessible format. Accessible versions for those who need them can be requested from GL Assessment.

Ripon Grammar School - frequently asked questions

At what age do children sit the selection test?

Your child can only take the test once and the test is taken in the academic year in which a child reaches 11 years of age. Exceptionally, younger children may be entered for the tests; however they cannot be retaken if the cut off mark is not reached.

Children cannot take the tests if they are older than the norm for the year group.

Pupils who do not reach the necessary cut-off mark for entry into year 7 may start their secondary education elsewhere, then if wished, apply to transfer into a selective grammar school for entry into year 8 or later. Please see the information below about changing schools into a selective grammar school.

What if my application to sit the test is submitted late or is incomplete?

Applications where parents

  • fail to register for the entrance test by the deadline
  • fail to complete the entrance test registration form properly
  • fail to report an absence due to illness or provide medical notes by the deadlines
  • wish to request special arrangements but fail to complete the relevant section of the entrance test registration form and / or submit the necessary supporting evidence by the deadline

will not be included for testing before the allocation of school places. Any testing necessary will take place in April the summer term before September admission.

The exception to this is where a late application is made and the family have moved into the catchment area for Ripon Grammar School or because of a serious illness that can be supported by medical evidence.

What do the tests for Ripon Grammar School involve?

The selection test comprises of one verbal reasoning and one non-verbal reasoning test.

The verbal reasoning test consists of one continuous 50 minute paper, of 80 multiple choice questions. There is a short break at the end of the test.

The non-verbal reasoning test consists of four separate sections, 20 multiple choice questions per section, with ten minutes to complete each section. At the beginning of each section, candidates are provided with brief instructions before continuing straight onto the following section. When a section has been completed and the time allowed has elapsed, your child cannot go back to answer questions on previous sections.

It is essential that your child attempts to complete all the questions within the time allowed to give them the best possible chance of success. The time element is part of the test.

Our selection tests are designed to identify whether your child can think a problem through, and to assess their academic potential. The test papers are marked and standardised by GL Assessment. Tests are not related to the national curriculum or key stage standard tests (SATs), which assess your child's current level of achievement in national curriculum work and take place much later in the academic year.

Appropriately recruited and trained invigilators supervise and administer the tests.

What if my child needs special arrangements to access the selection tests at Ripon Grammar School?

Parents may request special arrangements for their child to complete the selection test if they have a disability or require special resources, such as those that are put in place by the primary school. This can be done by completing the relevant section of the selection test application form or the registration form for in area pupils. Parents will be asked to outline their child’s disability and/or describe the special resources needed to enable them to sit the test. You should discuss the need for any possible special arrangements with your child’s head teacher. This is because when you let us know that special arrangements may be required, a report is requested from the primary school head teacher. Parents will be required to supply detailed medical evidence to support their request, which, together with the head teacher’s report, will allow the Access Arrangements Panel to consider the matter in full. All requests for special arrangements must be received before the closing date for applying for testing . Failure to notify us and provide the required evidence by midnight on that date will result in the tests taking place in April the following year

Where all the required evidence is received and the panel are able to make a decision you will be informed in writing by the end of July whether the request has been agreed. You will also be notified of the date of the test. (Testing under access arrangement may not take place on the bulk test day in September)

If no special arrangements are agreed your child will be invited to sit the test on the main test day in September.

Our test procedures are compliant with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

What do we need to bring on the day of the tests?

Parents need to bring:

  • your child
  • the letter of invitation - this will also be required when you collect your child
  • authorisation from another parent if you are collecting other children
  • a mobile phone or other number we can contact you on in case your child is unwell or upset

Children need to bring with them:

  • the coloured card with their candidate number, name and room number (this is sent with the invitation letter at the end of August)
  • two HB pencils
  • an eraser
  • a drink and a snack

Please note; mascots are not allowed in the examination room.

What happens if my child is ill or has a problem on the day of the test?

If your child is ill before the test day or you feel it would be inappropriate for them to sit on the arranged day due to a serious issue such as family bereavement, you must contact the admissions team and confirm in writing the reason why your child will not be attending.

If, on the day of the test, you feel it would be inappropriate for your child to take the tests due to illness, family bereavement or other serious issue which may affect your child's performance in the selection tests, you must contact the emergency number provided on your letter immediately. You will also be required to confirm the reason for their absence in writing by 5pm on the Monday after the test day.

Following receipt of written confirmation, we will then arrange an alternative test day. This may delay your child's results being provided to you.

If your child is absent on the day of the test without notifying the admissions team or calling the emergency number, they will be withdrawn from testing and alternative arrangements will not be made.

By bringing your child to the test, you are confirming that they are fit and well and there are no serious issues which could prevent them achieving their full potential. If you are unsure whether your individual circumstances fall into this category, please contact us to seek advice from the admissions team. 

How are the tests marked, and what is the cut-off mark for a pass?

After the marks have been standardised to take into account your child's age, your child's verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning scores are added together to give a total score which is used to determine whether they have reached the cut-off mark.

The results of the Ripon Grammar selection tests are used to find the highest scoring 28 per cent (or as close as possible) of the year 6 cohort who live in the Ripon area. The number of children this percentage figure identifies sets the cut-off mark and the standard which children must reach to be considered as suitable for entry into Ripon Grammar School.

In the last three years the cut-off marks for Ripon Grammar School have been:

Year of entry Ripon cut-off
2022 201
2021 198
2020 201


If my child 'passes' the selection tests, are they guaranteed a place?

No. Even if your child's results meet the standard required, it does not guarantee they will be allocated a place at a selective grammar school if that school is oversubscribed. 

The usual oversubscription criteria relating to catchment area and other factors will still apply in the case where more children apply for a place than there are places available. Ripon Grammar School, being a community school, adheres to the local authority policies on oversubscription, which you can consult here.

Ermysted's Grammar School and Skipton Girls’ High School admissions are decided by the school governors. You can find out about their admissions policies on the school's websites.

If your child does not get a place at their preferred school you have the statutory right to appeal.

Should I pay for coaching or 'off the shelf' sample tests?

We believe that children should be allowed to take the tests under conditions which are as normal as possible, and not face the pressure of extra coaching, but we cannot, of course, prevent it. Some schools do carry out a range of tests for assessment purposes whilst others do not. We do not expect any of our schools to carry out more than one VR or NVR test for each child each year.

The standardised marks for 'off the shelf' tests available in some shops are not comparable with the marks achieved in the tests designed for North Yorkshire.

If I opt out from the selection tests, does my child have priority for one of the non-selective schools?

No. All applications for places at a community school are dealt with in exactly the same way according to the criteria set out here. There is no guarantee that your child will be offered a place at the community school you have named as your highest preference.

Changing schools: transferring to a selective grammar school

You may want your child to transfer to a selective grammar school at a time other than the normal transfer time (the end of year 6), for example if you move into the area when your child is already in secondary education.

If you are applying for a place at Ripon Grammar School you can find out more about changing schools, and apply online here. You should also contact us in the case of Ripon Grammar School or the schools directly (in the case of Ermysted’s Grammar School or Skipton Girls') to apply for specially designed selection testing.

Testing arrangements for pupils in the current year 7 and above are arranged by staff in each of the selective schools. The tests for Ripon Grammar School are curriculum-based tests in English, maths, science and proficiency of a modern foreign language. Details of these tests are available from the head teacher. Tests will normally take place at the school, usually towards the end of the summer term.

Your child can be tested only once for a particular year of entry and normally this will be within their chronological age group. We do not recommend that a pupil transfers schools beyond year 10 due to potential differences in the exam boards and the curriculum

Boarding provision at Ripon Grammar School

Ripon Grammar School is a selective school with a boarding facility for up to 100 students. Boarding is either weekly or termly and a boarding fee is required. Any student wishing to board must pass the selection test which is administered by the local authority. A suitability for boarding form will also need completing. There are two separate boarding houses: School House for boys and Johnson House for girls. It is the only state boarding school in Yorkshire and also admits students to the sixth form who wish to board.

How can I apply for a boarding place?

Each year, there are up to 14 boarding places available in year 7 at Ripon Grammar School, with admission being based on the same selection procedures as other pupils. Those applying for boarding places will sit the selection tests in Ripon with other out of area children in September. Allocation of boarding places is dependent on your child being deemed suitable for a grammar school education via the selection test, and being deemed suitable for boarding using the information on the 'suitability for boarding' form. Boarding and day places will be allocated in early March.

It is possible to list both a day and a boarding place, however, each one is considered as a separate preference. If you want your child to be considered for a boarding place, you must stipulate the type of place you want to apply for (that is, weekly, termly, or both) on the common application form.

Residents who do not live in North Yorkshire will need to email in separately stating if a preference is for a boarding place and what type of place.

Day places are offered in accordance with our admissions criteria. The offer of a boarding place cannot be converted into a day place, or the other way round.

The 'suitability for boarding' form and boarding criteria for admission

Children must have attained the prescribed academic standard for the school before a place can be offered.

The 'suitability for boarding' form is available on the Ripon Grammar School website and will need to be completed prior to an offer of a boarding place being confirmed.

The suitability for boarding form is used to make sure that the school can meet a student's needs in boarding but does not secure the offer of a place (this is done through the selection test and admissions process). You are advised to look around the boarding facility at the school with your child, before applying.

Oversubscription Criteria

If there are more applications than boarding places available, priority is given as follows:

  1. looked after children, previously looked after children and children who appear to have been in state care outside of England
  2. children of members of the UK Armed Forces who qualify for Ministry of Defence financial assistance with the cost of boarding school fees
  3. children with a 'boarding need'. Children with a boarding need include:
    1. children at risk or with an unstable home environment and children of service personnel who have died while serving or who have been discharged as a result of attributable injury
    2. children of key workers and Crown Servants working abroad, e.g. the children of charity workers, people working for voluntary service organisations, the diplomatic service or the European Union, teachers, law enforcement officers and medical staff working abroad whose work dictates that they spend much of the year overseas
  4. applications for termly boarding
  5. applications for weekly boarding

Tie break:

If there are not enough places for all the children in one of these priority groups, we will give priority first to those with a sibling at the school in the September of year of entry, who live the furthest from the school.

In all cases sibling refers to brother or sister and includes children who lives as brother or sister in the same house including adopted brother or sister, where the child for whom the school place is sought is living in the same family unit at the same address as that sibling then to those living furthest from the school.

How much are the fees?

You have to pay fees for boarding places which are paid weekly or termly. You can see the current fees here.

Fees are all inclusive except for charges relating to trips and activities.

The fees are subject to change each year, as deemed by the governors.

You are advised that, should you decide to withdraw your child from Ripon Grammar School prior to the completion of their secondary education, you are required to give the authority and the school one term's written notice of that decision. You should also be aware that all boarders will be required to pay a bond, equivalent to 50 per cent of the first term's boarding fee when returning the signed formal acceptance. This bond is returned to you when your child leaves boarding, assuming all due fees have been paid to the school.

It is not possible for a boarding place to be converted to a day place.

Waiting lists

We hold separate waiting lists for boarding and day places. If children are refused a day place in March they will be placed in the appropriate position on the day place waiting list. If a day place becomes available it is offered to the child at the top of the day place waiting list. However if we have allocated less than 14 boarding places any late boarding applications which are on the boarding waiting list will take priority over day places when offering from the waiting list.

If we receive more than 14 applications for boarding places, children are placed in criteria order on the boarding waiting list. If a boarding place becomes available we will allocate from the top of the boarding place waiting list.

More information

If you are considering a boarding place for your child and need more information about boarding at Ripon Grammar School, please contact Mrs C Day, Assistant Head and Head of Boarding email: who will organise a visit to view the boarding facilities and to meet boarding staff prior to applying.

Ripon Grammar School
Clotherholme Road

Telephone: 01765 602647
Website: Ripon Grammar School website

Ermysted's Grammar School and Skipton Girls’ High School

Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton

Ermysteds Grammar School arrange and run their own selection tests. Their application process, timescales and deadlines differ to those of Ripon Grammar School. More information and how to apply can be found on the Ermysted's Grammar School website

You will still need to apply to the authority where you live, for a secondary school place to start in year 7 by the deadline of 31 October. 

Skipton Girls' High School

Skipton Girls' High School is an academy, the school arrange and run their own selection tests. The application process, timescales and deadlines differ to those of Ripon Grammar School. More information and how to apply can be found on the Skipton Girls' High School website

You will still need to apply to the authority where you live, for a secondary school place to start in Year 7 by the deadline of 31 October.