Frequently Asked Questions
Please read the Admission Policy carefully in conjunction with the frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions – Entry September 2023
Please use this guide to help answer the most common questions.
How will my child be selected?
Please note that the school is selective and admission is based on the results of an entrance test. Please take time to carefully read the separate admissions policy, which can be found on the school website. The normal ages of entrance are eleven and sixteen (for the sixth form). In special circumstances, for example when families move into the area, an in-year application form may be requested from the Admissions Officer and returned to the school. However, for a child to be admitted in-year, a vacancy would have had to arise, and this is a rare occurrence. For more information about in-year applications please see our website.
What does the entrance exam entail?
Children take an entrance examination early in the autumn term preceding the September of entry. Papers will test a range of reasoning skills in a variety of contexts and they are designed to be predictors of likely future performance. The results from each paper will be standardised, age-weighted and combined into a total standardised age score. The outcome of the test will be communicated to parents in mid-October in time for parents to complete the local authority common application form (CAF) by the deadline which is usually the end of October.
Notification that your child has met the standard for entry does not necessarily constitute the formal offer of a place since, in recent years, there have been more children reaching the required standard than there are places available. The formal offer of a place will be communicated via your Local Authority on national offer day in early March.
What happens if there are more people meeting the standard for entry than there are places available?
There are always more people who meet the standard than there are places available. In these circumstances, we apply our over subscription criteria. Full details regarding the definitions of each of the criteria are in the admissions policy on our website at www.heckgrammar.co.uk/admissions. In summary, the over subscription criteria are applied in order, as follows:
- Children of selective ability who are in public care or have previously been in public care.
- Children of selective ability who are eligible for the Pupil Premium.
- Children of selective ability who reside in the catchment area. The place of residence is the child’s permanent address on the date of sitting the entrance exam.
- Children of selective ability who already have siblings in the school, where those siblings will remain on roll when the child is admitted.
- Children of selective ability who have a parent who is employed by the school and who meets qualifying criteria.
- Children who have a proven high level in Music.
How can I prepare my child for the test?
There are many different ways you can help your child prepare for the test and you will know what will work best for your child. Amongst other activities you could try, we recommend that you help your child with reading. Ask them to explain the meaning of a passage they are reading. You could also point to a word and ask them to explain its meaning, give a synonym, or give you a word with an opposite meaning. You could give your child the meaning of a word and they have to find that word in the text they are reading. Another suggestion could be to give your child a time limit to find as many words belonging to a particular word group as they can, such as nouns or adjectives. Practising doing mental maths or literacy tasks under time constraints will also help boost confidence for the test.
What is the music over subscription criterion?
If, as expected, more children reach the required standard in the entrance exam than there are places available, then the oversubscription criteria will be invoked in the order they appear in the admissions policy. If a student has passed a nationally recognised music exam at grade 2 by the date of the entrance exam, then priority will be given to such a student. This must be indicated on the registration form for the entrance examination.
What is Pupil Premium?
There are three separate eligibility criteria for the Pupil Premium funding (payable to the school).
- Children who are eligible for free school meals, or have ever been eligible in the last 6 years.
- Children who are, or have ever been, looked after in local authority care.
- Children for whom one of their parents is in the armed forces, or has been, in the last 6 years.
How many places are available in Year 7?
The admission number for the school is 180.
How many applications does the school receive?
Typically, over 1000 pupils register for the entrance examination each year.
Does it matter where we live?
The majority of places are taken up by students who live outside of the catchment area; in a typical year, over three-quarters of the places have been offered to children from outside of the catchment area. However, students who reside within the catchment area have to pass the test to exactly the same standard as all the other students, but if the school is over subscribed, places will be offered to catchment area students as a priority. The place of residence will be taken as the child’s permanent address on the date of the entrance exam. Please see the admissions policy for a prioritised list of the oversubscription criteria. A map of the catchment area is available on the admissions policies page of our website.
What is a ‘looked-after child’?
A looked-after child is a child who is in public care or has previously been in public care. (Children previously in public care are children who were in public care and ceased to be so because they were adopted or became subject to a residence order or special guardianship order). Looked-after children are dealt with as criterion 1 with stage (ii) of the application process.
Do I need to make the school first preference on the LA common application form?
If parents wish for their child to attend Heckmondwike Grammar School, they are strongly advised to make the school their first preference on the LA common application form. If your child meets the admission criteria for more than one of your chosen schools, the LA will allocate your child to the school of highest preference. If HGS is not made first preference your child may not receive the offer of a place even if they meet the standard for entry in the entrance examination.
If I make HGS my first preference could this affect my application to another school?
No, the order of preference on the application form is not used as an admission criterion by any Kirklees school or schools in neighbouring authorities.
What happens if my child does not meet any of the oversubscription criteria?
The allocation of places follows a strict process. A child must meet the standard for entry to be considered for a place. Usually more children meet the standard for entry than there are places available. In this case, places are allocated to those children who meet one of the oversubscription criteria. These are applied in order of priority starting with the first criterion and then applying each of the others. After places have been allocated to children who meet the oversubscription criteria, the remaining places are then allocated in rank order according to the final weighted test score.
Approximately half of all places are allocated to children who meet one of the oversubscription criteria.
What if my child has special needs?
If your child has a Statement of Special Educational Needs and/or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, or is receiving external agency support for any additional needs, please contact the school to discuss this. Special arrangements may be given by Heckmondwike Grammar School during the examination.
What if my child is ill on the day of the examination?
If you feel your child is so unwell they can’t take the examination you should inform the Admissions Officer at the school immediately. You should then take your child to your GP and provide a medical note to the school. If appropriate, it may be possible for your child to sit the examination on an alternative date. If your child is unwell during the test and you feel the illness has affected their performance, then you should take your child to your GP immediately and provide a medical note to the school.
What if my child is isolating on the day of the examination?
If your child is having to isolate because they have been tested positive for Covid-19, please do not bring them to the exam. Equally, if they are isolating following advice from local health professionals, Test and Trace or other local officials, do not bring your child to the exam.
If any of these cases apply, please contact the school and alternative arrangements can be made for your child to take the test at a later date. We may ask you to provide evidence to justify your request.
How will lockdown rules affect the running of the entrance examination?
The School will comply with current Government guidance in force at the time of the entrance exam. Please co-operate with us to establish a calm and pleasant environment for children which is a stressful time for children and parents.
How will Heckmondwike Grammar School promote a Covid secure environment for the entrance examination?
We have made significant changes to the way we operate the entrance exam to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Measures include:
- Reducing the number venues that will be used as exam rooms.
- Welcoming candidates will take place outside and candidates will be allowed into the building a few minutes before their test will start.
- Candidates can wear a face covering while they are moving around the building, but will be asked to remove it when registering on arrival. They will be encouraged to remove their face covering when they are seated.
- Members of staff may be wearing face coverings (unless exempt).
- Candidates are not allowed to bring anything with them into the exam room. We will provide all necessary equipment.
- Rooms will be cleaned thoroughly before each set of exams.
- Full details of arrival points and times along with dismissal times will be supplied to you with your joining instructions. Please note that these arrangements have changed from previous years so you are encouraged to read the joining instructions very carefully.
Do you operate a waiting list?
If your child has met the standard for entry and is not offered a place we will invite you to join a waiting list should a place become available. Places will be offered by the local authority if one becomes available, provided that the child has met the standard for entry. Your child’s position on the waiting list depends on their rank order in the test.
What if I apply late?
It is essential for applicants to sit the entrance test according to the admissions schedule so that the outcome can be communicated to parents in time to nominate the school on the CAF where appropriate. Applicants whose registration with the school is later than the test deadline, and those who do not nominate the school on the CAF by the local authority deadline, will be considered after the initial round of waiting list places on 31st March. It is highly unlikely that places will be available at this stage and parents who think they may wish to pursue a place at the school are strongly advised both to register on time for the test and to nominate Heckmondwike Grammar School on the CAF in the first instance.