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

For entry into Year 7 in September 2021 updated information on selection testing and how to apply will be available in April 2020.

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 selection test takes place in September the year before children are due to transfer to secondary school. Both Ripon Grammar School and Ermysted's Grammar School use the local authority selection testing process described on this page. Skipton Girls’ High School is an academy and run their own selection test, you should contact the school direct for further information.

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

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 Girls' 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.

In area pupils who attend an in area primary school

Pupils that live in the catchment area, and go to a primary school in the catchment area, will be enrolled automatically for the selection test. Attendance at a primary school in a selective area does not mean that your child is 'in area'. The determining factor is your child’s principal place of residence.

View secondary school catchment areas

If you are 'in area' and attend an in area primary school, you will receive a letter early in the summer term. When you receive the letter, you must confirm whether or not you will be putting your child forward for the tests, or whether you wish to withdraw your child from the test. If you do not reply by the deadline, we will assume you do not wish your child to be tested and we will withdraw them.

The test takes place at the grammar school to which you are applying. The 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 in the last week of August.

If you move into one of the selective areas from any point in the summer term onwards, it is vital that you contact us and inform us that you wish your child to be included in the selection test.

Apply to sit the selection test - for entry into Ripon Grammar School only.

Do I need to apply?

You need to apply if:

  • you do not live in the Ripon Grammar catchment area (based on the child's permanent residence);
  • you live in catchment, but your child currently goes to a school that is not in the catchment area; or
  • your child goes to an independent school.

This means that if you wish your child to attend one of the selective schools, you need to apply to sit the selection test. Unlike for in-area pupils who attend an in area school, it will not be automatic.

The application round is open from 6 April until 28 June 2020. You can find this year's deadline on our timelines page here. If you apply late, your child will be tested in April, which is after the national allocation day for secondary school places in March of the following year, unless you have an exceptional reason that we accept. Such reasons may include moving home into the catchment area, or a serious illness that can be supported with medical evidence.

About the selection test

Each child will sit one set of tests, on one Saturday in September. You can find this year's dates here. On the test day they 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.

Preparing for the test: sample questions

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 test 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.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

The same verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning tests are used for both Ripon Grammar School and Ermysted's Grammar School.

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 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. 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.

There are some special arrangements that we can make, depending on the nature of a child’s disability or need. They will normally reflect the arrangements that are made within a child’s primary school, such as enlarged or coloured papers for a child with a visual impairment, or additional time for children whose condition means that they work more slowly than others.

If your child has a disability or special need, you should first 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. Any requests for special arrangements need to be received before the closing date in June.

The head teacher’s report and any other supporting documents from consultants or other professionals that you have provided will be considered by a specialist panel who will agree what appropriate testing arrangements are required.

As soon as the arrangements are in place, you will be sent a letter of invitation.

Pupils that require special arrangements will not sit the test on the published day and the test will be held midweek later in the autumn term.

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.

All requests for special arrangements must be made in writing to the admissions team by the head teacher or the parent / carer, as early as possible in the summer term and before the closing date for applications in June.

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; and
  • 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;
  • a rubber; and
  • a drink and a snack.

Please note mascots are not allowed in the examination room.

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.

Following receipt of written confirmation, we will then arrange an alternative day.

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.

If your child cannot take the test on the arranged day but you have notified us in writing, they will not be penalised but it will delay your child's results being provided to you. 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 seek advice from the admissions team.

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 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
2019 203 210
2018 207 204
2017 201 218

'Out of area' children applying in the Ripon 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, 'out of area' boys applying in 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.

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.

If your child has achieved the appropriate cut-off mark, they will be eligible to be considered for a place at the selective school that has been listed as a preference.

Results will be sent out by post in early October, well before the deadline for secondary school applications, to give you time to make your preferences accordingly.

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 is a voluntary aided school and admissions are decided by the school governors. You can find out about Ermysted's Grammar School admissions policies on the school website.

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

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.

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.

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 you can find out more about changing schools, and apply online here. You should also contact the admissions team (in the case of Ripon Grammar or Ermysted's) or the school directly (in the case of 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 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. 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.

If you wish to download the presentations from the information evening, they are below. However, all the information contained in them is on these web pages. Make sure you fully read and explore the whole of the school admissions section and you may find your questions have been answered. 

If you require any further information or have a question that we have not answered here, please contact the admissions team.

The information below is from the two selection evenings that were held for the 2020-21 academic year:

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. 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, 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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