Frequently Asked Questions
Please note: – if any family is found to have falsified information on the test registration form, either home address or identity, the test score will become invalid.
EACH CHILD MAY TAKE ANY TEST ONCE ONLY
- Do I have to register for the test on each school website?
- What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly?
- When will I know my test centre?
- Where will my child sit the test?
- What if I forget the details of the test?
- Can I change the venue I have been allocated?
- My child is sitting the test at a school I am not applying to – does it matter at what school my child sits the test?
- What happens if my child is not able to attend the Academic and/or Music Test?
- What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Test?
- What do I do if I cannot attend the Music Audition time I have been given?
- What should I do if my child has a disability or needs extra time for the tests? (If your child usually receives extra time or special intervention in class then you must let us know.)
- How can I get hold of practice papers? Does the Consortium or any of the schools hold past papers?
- What tests do the children take?
- What equipment does my child need?
- Can I stay with my child or wait for my child during the test?
- How will I find out my child’s test results?
- Once the scores have been received can I have my child’s paper re-marked?
- Are the scores age-standardised?
- What mark does my child have to achieve?
- If I have registered my child for the test, do I still need to apply for a school place?
- How do I apply to any of the Consortium Schools?
- What are each school’s admission criteria?
- What if I have registered my child to sit a test in a different borough and it clashes with a consortium test?
- Should my primary school help my child prepare for the VR Test?
- Can I expect to view a result for Stage 1 of the Music Test?
- What if I can’t see my child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools?
Do I have to register for the test on each school website?
No – you need to register only once for the test via the link on any of the seven consortium school websites. This is to register only to sit the Consortium Tests.
You are not making an application to any of the schools. Separate school applications MUST be made to County, and the School Information Form (SIF) returned to individual schools for secondary school admission in September 2019. Following the tests you will need to make an application (CAF) via Hertfordshire County Council, or your Local Authority if you live outside Hertfordshire, listing the schools to which you wish to apply. You are also required to complete a School Information Form (SIF) for each of the schools you apply to. These forms are generally available either at each school on its Open Day, or on the website of each school.
What if I enter my child’s details incorrectly?
You may only register your child once.
Incorrect details could be date of birth/spelling of name/inaccurate choice of tests.
It is very important that you give the full, correct name of your child and that you check spellings carefully. It is important that you use the same name on all correspondence. If a different version of your child’s name is used, this could lead to difficulty or delay in your application for a school place.
If you have made an error, please do not register for the second time. Instead, contact email@example.com with your amendment; please confirm your child’s name, date of birth and SWHerts Reference given on registration clearly indicating the changes you would like to make.
Please note your child should have a date of birth between 1st September 2007 and 31st August 2008 inclusive. If the date of birth falls outside of this range, please contact any Admission Officer.
When will I know my test centre?
Please see the ‘Calendar’ section of this website for all important dates.
Where will my child sit the test?
Your child will sit the test at one of the schools in the Consortium. You will be able to log on to the parent portal in July to find out where your child will take the test. The venue of the test centre is, where possible, based on the geographical location of your child’s primary school and has nothing to do with school preference.
What if I forget the details of the test?
Once you register you must regularly log on to the secure web page to view the initial registration for the tests, the allocation of the test centre for the tests you wish your child to take and the allocation of music audition times (if your child is successful in Music Stage 1). Results of tests will be available on the site. Please see the calendar for information on timescales and deadlines. Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.
Can I change the venue I have been allocated?
No – the venue cannot be changed. The popularity of the test means that each test centre is filled to capacity and each test session is carefully planned in terms of numbers.
My child is sitting the test at a school I am not applying to – does it matter at what school my child sits the test?
No – the test venue is simply where your child will take the test or tests for which you have applied. The venue is completely irrelevant to the final allocation of school places.
What happens if my child is not able to attend the Academic and/or Music Test?
You will not be permitted to take the Academic or Music Test on an alternative date for any other reasons than medically certificated illness or religious observance. If your child is being tested on the main academic test day (Saturday) in another Borough or County, it may be possible to swap your test SESSION from morning to afternoon or vice versa, however there will be limited availability to offer this and any request should be submitted to your test centre prior to the end of the academic year 2018. Please note that requests for session swaps WILL NOT BE OFFERED AN ALTERNATIVE DATE and will not be offered at all after 19th July. We are not able to offer alternative test dates for the music test due to borough clashes. The music test is held AFTER school.
What should I do if my child is ill on the day of the Test?
You should contact the test venue you have been allocated immediately and arrangements may be made for the student to be entered on the Reserve Day. Medical certification WILL BE required to confirm eligibility for the Reserve Day.
What do I do if I cannot attend the Music Audition time I have been given?
You should contact any Admissions Officer immediately.
What should I do if my child has a disability or needs extra time for the tests?
(If your child usually receives extra time or special intervention in class then you must let us know.)
If you consider that your child might be disadvantaged under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act, or has special educational needs which require the test centre to make particular provision for the tests, you must provide written evidence of this from your child’s current school Headteacher. This evidence must be sent immediately after registering for the test. Please send a copy with the name, date of birth of your child along with the SWH Reference given on registration to either firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Test Co-Ordinator, South West Herts Schools Tests, PO BOX 2439, Watford, WD18 1UZ. It is very important that you do this so the paperwork is received by Friday 22nd June, at the latest.
If you are unsure of your child’s eligibility for special provision, please contact any Admissions Officer.
How can I get hold of practice papers? Does the Consortium or any of the schools hold past papers?
Familiarisation papers can be downloaded from this website. The Consortium does not send out past papers and the same applies for all the Consortium schools. Similar styles of papers can be purchased from bookshops or from the Internet.
What tests do the children take?
If your child is applying under the Academic Criterion then the tests are in Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning. Children applying under the Music criterion will take the Consortium Musical Aptitude test.
In addition, a Sports Test is arranged by Queens’ School and relates to this school only.
Mathematics: This part of the test will take 50 minutes. Papers are prepared specifically for the Consortium and are based on the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Click here for specimen Mathematics questions.
Verbal Reasoning: The paper will take approximately one hour to deliver. This will include examples for each section. Click here for specimen Verbal Reasoning questions.
There will be a short break between the tests, when children can have a small snack.
Music Test: The test will consist of 60 questions in four sections which are played on a CD. The questions are in relation to Pitch, Melody, Rhythm and Texture.
A limited number of applicants will be invited back to perform a single piece on their chosen instrument or vocally. This will be a free choice of piece, which should last no longer than three minutes. As there is a free choice of instrument and piece, it will give candidates of all abilities and all cultures equal opportunity to succeed. Those applicants invited back will be given an individual appointment during the school day. Please see the Calendar for further details.
- You will be given time to warm up prior to your performance.
- Your performance time must not be longer than 3 minutes.
- You cannot bring your own accompanist.
- If you wish for a member of our staff to accompany you, you must bring music sheets for them.
- You may only play one piece of music. A medley is a musical composition made up of a series of songs or short pieces; this is allowed, as long as the piece is one continuous piece. Two separate pieces are not allowed.
- The keyboards we have available are Casio, if you require any other type you must bring your own.
- Amps and music stands can be provided.
- Any backing track must be brought on CD only. We cannot listen to back tracks brought in on MP3, USB or mobile phone.
- If you require percussion/drums we have rooms set up for this, however, please note that the drum kit is acoustic. You must request this of the Clerks upon registration when you arrive.
Sports Test: The test is based on the Eurofit test and consists of seven events. Please see the Queens’ School website for further details.
• What do I do if I want to amend/change the test(s) I want my child to take?
You can request a change to your test preferences at any time up until the cut-off date of Friday 22nd June. You may not make any further changes to your test preferences after this date. Please contact the Test Co-Ordinator at email@example.com with details of your child’s name, SWHSC reference number and details of the tests that you wish to change. If you have not selected a particular test and wish to do so after this date, you will unfortunately not be permitted to do so.
• If I have a query regarding any of the tests, who do I contact?
The Academic Test – the Admissions Officer of the test centre you have been given
The Music Test – the Admissions Officer of the test centre you have been given
The Sports Test – the Admissions Officer at Queens’.
What equipment does my child need?
For all tests, please provide your child with two pencils and a rubber. Any refreshments for the break should be neatly packed and named.
Can I stay with my child or wait for my child during the test?
No. Parents must leave the test centre site once they have registered the children and return to collect them afterwards at the time given by the centre.
How will I find out my child’s test results?
The test results will be published on Wednesday 17th October around midday. You will be asked to register for the tests by logging on to a parent portal using a password. The password should be memorable and secure. Once you register you must regularly log on to the secure web page to view the initial registration for the tests, the allocation of the test centre for the tests you wish your child to take, and the allocation of music audition times (if your child is successful in Music Stage 1). Results of tests will be available on the site. Please see the calendar for information on timescales and deadlines. Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.
Once the scores have been received can I have my child’s paper re-marked?
The same mark scheme is used by all the schools in the Consortium and is strictly adhered to.
Re-marking of your child’s test papers may be considered after 1st March. You should contact the test centre where your child took the test with your request.
Are the scores age-standardised?
Yes. The raw scores are converted to an “age-standardised score” based on the child’s age in completed months. Standardisation balances the overall performance of children from one year to the next and makes sure that all children are placed on an equal footing and that no child is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged because of his or her age. It takes into account the child’s age in years and months on the date they take the test and that some children are very young in the year group.
For more information on age-standardisation please refer to https://www.nfer.ac.uk/for-schools/products-services/primary-schools/nfer-tests/why-nfer/
What mark does my child have to achieve?
There is no pass mark for the academic test, places being offered in accordance with each school’s admission arrangements. Once you have received your test score on Wednesday 17th October, you will then be able to decide which school(s) you wish to apply to. Historical data can be found on every Consortium school’s website giving the lowest scores which gained entry into the school in the last three years. Although these historical scores are broadly comparable with this year’s scores, they should be treated with some caution as standards do vary from year to year.
If I have registered my child for the test, do I still need to apply for a school place?
Yes: this is very important. Your child’s test score will be notified to you on Wednesday 17th October and you might need to enter this information, together with your test registration reference number, on the School Information Form (SIF) for a Consortium school.
How do I apply to any of the Consortium Schools?
You must complete the Common Application Form (CAF) for the Local Authority in which you live. (The borough council to which you pay your council tax.) The national deadline for applications for secondary transfer is the end October 2018. If you apply for a school place after this date, your application will be considered as a Late Application and will not be considered alongside applications made on time.
In addition you must complete the individual school’s School Information Form (SIF). This form needs to be returned to each chosen school before the application deadline. You might have to include the test reference number and score on the SIF.
What are each school’s admission criteria?
Each school’s admission criteria can be found in the school’s admission section of its website. Links have been provided on this website.
Please note that each school’s criteria are individual to that school and your child having taken the Consortium test does not mean that he or she will be eligible to apply to any of the Consortium schools. You should, therefore, read carefully through the criteria for any school to which you might be thinking of applying.
What if I have registered my child to sit a test in a different borough and it clashes with a Consortium test?
In the first instance, we recommend you try and arrange to sit on the other Borough’s or County’s test reserve day.
If this is not possible, you should contact your allocated test centre to see if the session can be swapped i.e. morning to afternoon, or afternoon session to the morning. You will not be offered an alternative date.
Should my Primary school help my child prepare for the VR Test?
Unlike Mathematics, Verbal Reasoning is not part of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum which is taught by all state primary schools. The Headteachers and staff of primary schools have no obligation or reason to adapt the primary curriculum to accommodate preparation for the Consortium’s tests. Indeed they are prevented from doing so by the need to remain impartial in the secondary transfer process.
It is wrong therefore to expect primary teachers to coach children to do Verbal Reasoning tests or to devote any school time to practicing them. Preparation for the Verbal Reasoning test can be done perfectly adequately at home using comparable tests that are easily obtainable; this is the parent’s responsibility, not that of the primary school.
The Mathematics test is based on Key Stage 2 Maths, which the children are studying in their primary schools.
Can I expect to view a result for Stage 1 of the Music Test?
Yes, all successful and unsuccessful applicants who attend Stage 1 of the music test will be able to log in to the parent portal and view their mark shortly after completion of the first music test, prior to commencement of the Music Audition week. Please remember that it is your responsibility, as a parent, to log on to the secure website to view the information at the appropriate times throughout the testing process.
What if I can’t see my child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools?
If you are unable to find your child’s primary school in the drop down list of primary schools, there is a white box available for you to input the name. Please click inside the white box and manually input the name of your child’s primary school.
DATA PROTECTION NOTICE: The information provided for the purposes of registration for the South West Herts Schools Consortium tests is treated as confidential. It is processed by the Consortium for the purposes of the South West Herts Schools Consortium testing process only and will be kept for a period of 12 months from registration, after which it will be deleted and will not be held centrally by the Consortium. Data held by the Consortium Schools individually will be subject to that school’s Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notices, issued by that School, available on its website and updated from time to time, and in line with current Data Protection laws.
Copyright SW Herts Schools Consortium