Selective school admissions

Information about applying for a place at a selective school in North Yorkshire.

Information evenings for selective grammar schools

The information below is from the two selection evenings that were held for the 2019-20 academic year:

For entry into Year 7 in September 2019 the selection tests will be held at the above grammar schools on Saturday 8 September and Saturday 15 September 2018 (pupils need to attend both test days).

If you have any queries, please contact the admissions team.

Familiarisation material

To allow pupils and parents to see the range of skills required to complete the tests, a practice example of the verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning familiarisation booklets are available below.

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

About selective grammar schools

Within North Yorkshire there are three selective grammar schools. These schools admit children based on their performance in tests which are designed to identify academic potential. The main selection tests take place in September the year before children are due to transfer to secondary school.

The local authority administers the selection tests for Ripon Grammar School and Ermysted's Grammar School in Skipton and the following information relates to these two schools.

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at Ermysteds Grammar School or Ripon Grammar School and your child attends an out of catchment school, you live out of the catchment area for the grammar schools or your child attends an independent school, you will need to make an application to sit the tests.

If you live in the catchment area for the grammar schools and your child attends an in-area primary school you will be notified directly during the summer term about the selection scheme.

The application round to sit the selection tests, for entry into Year 7 in September 2019, runs from May 2018 until 22 July 2018.

The bulk selection tests are held on two Saturdays in September and children need to attend both test days. For entry in September 2019 the tests will be held on Saturday 8 September 2018 and Saturday 15 September 2018.

Late applications can still be made to sit the selective tests for entry in 2017. Please contact the admissions, transport and welfare team for information regarding test dates.

To apply to sit the selective test please complete this application form.

In order for your child to be considered for a place at Ripon Grammar School or Ermysted's Grammar School you must also list that school on the common application form along with your other preferences. The deadline for completing the secondary common application forms is 31 October.

Skipton Girls High School - if you wish to apply for a place at Skipton Girls High School, which is an academy, you should contact the school direct as well as listing the school on the common application form.

If your child is not allocated a place at the grammar school you have listed as a preference, you are entitled to an admissions appeal.

Selective areas

There are two selective areas within North Yorkshire; one in Skipton and one in Ripon. Each school has its own website and prospectus for more information.

Secondary schools in the Skipton area

You live within the selective area of Skipton if you reside within the catchment area of the above named schools.

Secondary schools in the Ripon area

  • Ripon Grammar School, a selective school for boys and girls (which includes up to 14 boarding places in year 7 each year).
  • Outwood Academy, Ripon, a non-selective academy for boys and girls in a selective area. 

You live within the selective area of Ripon if you reside within the catchment area of the above named schools.

Selection - further information

The same verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning tests are used for both Ripon Grammar School and Ermysted's Grammar School. Eligible children will normally sit the tests during the autumn term. Your child can only take the tests once and the tests are 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.

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

The non-verbal reasoning test consists of four separate sections, 20 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 tests 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. These tests are produced and marked by GL Assessment. The tests are not related to national curriculum subjects or the associated key stage standard tests of attainment (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 these tests.

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

Pupils who do not reach the necessary cut-off mark for entry into year 7 may ask to be assessed again for entry into year 8 and later to other year groups, although we do not recommend transfers beyond year 10. The selection tests for children transferring in Year 7 onwards are different from those taken by Year 6 pupils and are usually taken towards the end of the summer term. These tests are arranged by the school and details of these tests may be obtained from the head teacher of the selective school concerned.

Suitability for a selective grammar school education

The definition of who is suitable for a grammar school education is very precise. The results of the North Yorkshire selection tests are used to find the highest scoring 28 per cent (or as close as possible) of all year 6 children who live in the Ripon area and the highest scoring 28 per cent (or as close as possible) of all year 6 boys who live in the Skipton area. The number of children this percentage figure identifies sets the cut-off mark in each selective area, thereby setting the standard which children must reach to be considered as suitable for a selective grammar school education in that area. The cut off mark for the Ripon and Skipton areas are usually different and will vary from year to year. In the last three years the cut-off marks for these two areas have been:

Year of entry

Ripon cut-off

Skipton cut-off

2018 207 204
2017 201 218
2016 210 213

Children who live outside the Ripon selective area must achieve the cut-off mark set by the performance of the pupils who live in that area in order to be considered.

Similarly, boys who live outside the Skipton selective area must meet the cut-off mark which is set by the performance of the boys who live in that area in order to be considered.

If your child has achieved the appropriate cut-off mark for Ripon Grammar School or Ermysted's Grammar School, they will be eligible to be considered for a place at the selective school that has been listed as a preference. Even if your child meets the standard required for a selective education, it does not guarantee they will be allocated a place at a selective grammar school if that school is oversubscribed.

You can view details of last year's admission appeals here.

As Ripon Grammar School is a community school it adheres to our agreed admissions policy as outlined here.

With regard to opting in or out of selection procedures, you need to carefully consider whether:

  • Your child meets the academic achievement expected of pupils in those selective schools; and 
  • That a selective grammar school is the right one for your child.

If you live in a selective area of the county and your child attends a maintained primary school in that area, your child will be put forward for the selection procedure. All children will be tested at the local grammar school.

All parents of the above children will be sent a letter with a reply slip to confirm if their child will be sitting the selection test or if they wish to withdraw their child. This will need to be returned to their primary school by Monday 19 June 2017.

We will advise you in writing of the time, date and location of the tests during the week commencing 28 August 2017.

Arrangements are different for girls in the Skipton area. Contact Skipton Girls' High School for further information.

We class children who do not live in either of the two selective areas as 'living out of the area'. The deciding factor is the child's principal permanent residence, i.e. the place where your child lives permanently most of the time. If the residency of your child is split between two parents, we consider the home address to be where the child lives for the majority of the time. When a child lives equally with both parents, with both parents' agreement, they can elect one of their two addresses to be used for allocating a school place. If you live outside of the selective area, and would like your child to sit the selection tests, you need to apply for your child to be tested. You can do this by filling in the online selection application form. Alternatively you can send an email or letter. You must do this by 23 July 2017. Please give your child's full name, date of birth, home address and telephone number, and the name and address of their current school.

All children will sit the selection test within the Grammar School that is being applied for.

We will advise you in writing of the time, date and location of the tests.

You need to apply for your child to be tested if:

  • You live in one of the selective areas but your child does not attend a maintained primary school in one of the selective areas; or
  • You live outside the selective areas, including outside of North Yorkshire; or
  • Your child attends an independent school.

If you apply late after the registration date of 23 July 2017 your child will normally be tested after the allocation of secondary school places (1 March 2018), unless you have an exceptional reason agreed by the local authority for doing so. Such reasons may include moving home or a serious illness.

If, on the day of the tests, 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 immediately and confirm the reason for their absence in writing. We will then arrange for your child to take the tests at a later date.

If your child cannot take the tests on the arranged day, they will not be penalised but it will delay your child's results being provided to you. By bringing your child to the tests, 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 seek advice from the admissions team.

If you have any questions about the testing procedure, you should contact the admissions team

A timetable of important dates for the selection process can be found here. It is important that you adhere to these dates, since any late applications may affect our ability to allocate a place at a school of your preference.

Please access the application form here.

Children who may need special arrangements to access the selection tests

Our test procedures are compliant with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. Where we are made aware that special arrangements may be required, a report is requested from the primary school head teacher. This report and any other evidence provided will be considered by a specialist panel who will agree what appropriate testing arrangements are required.

Pupils that require special arrangements will not sit the tests at the published times and the tests will normally be held towards the end of the autumn term. You will be notified accordingly of the arrangements once agreed.

If you feel your child could be eligible for consideration under these arrangements, please discuss this with your child's head teacher and contact the admissions team accordingly.

North Yorkshire County Council believes that children should be allowed to sit the tests under conditions which are as normal as possible without facing the pressure of extra coaching or home tutoring.

The authority does not encourage coaching but cannot, of course, prevent it. Some schools do carry out verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning tests for assessment purposes whilst others don't. The authority does not expect any of its schools to carry out these assessment tests more than once each year and head teachers are instructed not to provide coaching and further practice for children in verbal reasoning or non-verbal reasoning selection tests. Further information regarding practice and coaching can be found at

Familiarisation booklets

We have arranged for GL Assessment to produce familiarisation booklets. They 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 tests that will be taken.

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

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 or Ermysted's Grammar School please tell the admissions team in writing, or apply online here. Arrangements can then be made to test your child. For a place at Skipton Girls' High School, you should contact the school direct.

Please provide your child's full name, date of birth, home address and telephone number, and the name and address of their current school. Testing arrangements for pupils in the current year 7 and above are arranged by staff in each of the selective schools.

The tests children take for transferring to a selective grammar school later than at the end of year 6 (for example years 7-10) are curriculum-based tests in English, maths and science. Ripon Grammar School also tests proficiency of a modern foreign language. Details of these tests are available from the head teacher of the school concerned.

You need to be aware that if your child reaches the required standard and is found suitable for a grammar school education by reaching the required standard that we may be unable to offer your child a place at the school, if the year group applied for is oversubscribed. If this is the case you will then be offered the statutory right of appeal.

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. Tests will normally take place at the school usually towards the end of the summer term; however, tests may be taken earlier if exceptional reasons apply.

Frequently asked questions

In area pupils attending an in area primary school will be automatically entered for the selection scheme, however you must confirm if you want your child to sit the test or if you want them to be withdrawn from the process. We have written to 'in-area' pupils at an in area primary school to ask this, if we do not hear from you we will write to you again to remind you to let us know by the deadline of 23 July 2017. If we do not hear from you we will assume that you do not wish your child to sit the test.

Children that live in the selective area but attend an out of area primary school or an independent school must make an application by 23 July 2017.

All pupils living outside the selective area who would like to sit the selection test must apply; this can be done online or in writing. Once you have registered your child, you will be notified at the end of August of the time, date and arrangements for the tests. All pupils sitting the bulk tests will be tested at one of the grammar schools in the selective area.

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.

No. The local authority has, for several years now, consistently set the number of 'in-area' children who are to be deemed suitable for a selective education in each selective area (Ripon and Skipton), as being 28 per cent (or as close as possible) of all year 6 pupils who live in the Ripon area and all year 6 boys who live in the Skipton area. The cohort is the number of children who live in each selective area who are eligible to take the test, rather than those who are actually entered. The number of 'in-area' children identified through the operation of the cut-off mark is, therefore, not affected by the number of children who withdraw from testing.

You must notify us as soon as possible, we will write to your child's head teacher to ask for information including the arrangements the school normally make. Your request will be considered by a panel of professional's mid-September. They will advise whether additional arrangements are appropriate. Testing will not normally take place in September and alternative test dates will be arranged for later in the Autumn term. If your child is not given alternative arrangements they will be tested under normal conditions later than the published dates and the results will not be available before the closing date of 31 October for applying for a secondary school place.

You need to contact the admissions team as soon as possible to let us know and confirm in writing the reason. If it is the first test then they are still able to come to the second test day. A date will be arranged for your child to sit the test they have missed or both tests if necessary. This may not be at the local grammar school and will be during the week. If your child is absent for one of the tests and you do not notify us we will consider that you no longer wish your child to be tested and they will be withdrawn from the process.

Boarding education 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. 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. The accommodation is of a very high standard and a recent extension to Johnson House (girls' boarding) provides separate study bedrooms for older students.

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. 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.

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.


You have to pay fees for boarding places which are paid weekly or termly. You can see the fees for 2018 to 2019 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.

Application for boarding

The 'suitability for boarding' form is available on the 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.

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

  1. Looked after children and previously looked after children*
  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:
    a) 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;
    b) 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 over weekly boarding.
  5. Children with a sibling currently attending the school
  6. Children living furthest from the school measured using the authority's electronic mapping system.

*This applies to all looked after children, including those who are in the care of another local authority. Previously looked after children are children who were adopted (or subject to residence orders or special guardianship orders) immediately following having been looked after.

A limited scheme of assistance support is available to parents whose children must receive boarding education and who have met the selection criteria. For details contact the admissions transport and welfare team.

We will only offer your child a boarding place if we consider them to be suitable for selective education at Ripon Grammar School. The school admissions code, published by the Department for Education, describes how your child is assessed for suitability for a boarding education.

When assessing how suitable your child is for boarding, we must consider the following conditions: a) whether your child presents a serious health and safety hazard to other boarders; b) whether your child is developmentally suited to a boarding place. This is judged through the 'suitability for boarding' form.

At the date of allocation (in March) any unfilled year 7 boarding places will be converted to 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.

If you are considering a boarding place for your child and need more information about boarding at Ripon Grammar School, please contact Miss Murray, Deputy 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

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