Sir William Borlase School

Sir William Borlase School

About Sir William Borlase School

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School is a selective state school for boys and girls aged 11 to 18 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The school has a long and cherished history; it was founded in 1624 to ensure children from all backgrounds were able to access a high-quality education. This vision is still at the heart of the school's philosophy today.

Students at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School (affectionally known as 'Borlasians') consistently achieve excellent exam results at A level and GCSE, placing the school firmly within the top 50 grammar schools in the country. There is a "contagious enthusiasm" for learning in all subjects and disciplines, with plenty of opportunities for enrichment through independent research, practical exploration, and academic trips and visits.

Beyond the classroom, Borlasians are encouraged to be busy and get involved in a wide-reaching extracurricular programme. Activities satisfy an outstanding range of interests and talents, including nationally-recognised hockey and rowing programmes, exceptional dance, drama and musical theatre performances, and multiple musical choirs, orchestras and ensembles.

  • Address: Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2BR
  • Local authority: Buckinghamshire Council
  • School type: mixed grammar
  • Headteacher: Kay Mountfield
  • Number of pupils: 1,150+
  • National rank (Sunday Times Parent Power): 38
  • A level results: 88% A*–B
  • GCSE results: 79% 9/8/7

Sir William Borlase School term dates

The 2023–2024 term dates at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School are:

  • Autumn term: 5th September – 15th December 2023
  • Half term: 16th–27th October 2023
  • Spring term: 4th January – 28th March 2024
  • Half term: 12th–16th February 2024
  • Summer term: 15th April – 23rd July 2024
  • Half term: 27th–31st May 2024

How to apply to Sir William Borlase School

1. Secondary Transfer Test registration

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School is a member of The Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (TBGS). This consortium administers the 11 plus exam (Secondary Transfer Test) for all 13 grammar schools in the county.

Buckinghamshire’s 11 plus registration process is unique as they operate an ‘opt-out’ system. If your child attends a Buckinghamshire primary school, they will automatically be registered to take the test.

If your child's primary school is not in Buckinghamshire and you would like to apply for a place at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, you will need to register for the Secondary Transfer Test separately. Registration will be open on the Buckinghamshire Council website between 5th May 2023 and 16th June 2023.

2. Apply for a school place

You will receive your child's results in the Secondary Transfer Test on 13th October 2023. If your child has achieved the pass mark in the exam, they will be eligible for a place at the school. You will then be able to name Sir William Borlase's Grammar School on your common application form.

Before listing the school as a preference on your form, check its admissions policy and make sure your child is eligible. Passing the Secondary Transfer Test will not be a guarantee of a place as more children reach the qualifying standard each year than there are places available.

The application form must be submitted to your home local council by 31st October 2023. The form must be completed for your home local authority – i.e. if you live in Buckinghamshire you will need to complete the form on the Buckinghamshire Council website. If you live in a different local authority, make sure to apply through the relevant website for that council.

What's on the Sir William Borlase School 11 plus?

Children applying for Year 7 entry to Sir William Borlase's Grammar School will take the 11 plus on Thursday 14th September 2023. The exam consists of two multiple-choice papers, each lasting around one hour:

  • English and verbal reasoning
  • Non-verbal reasoning and maths

Learn about the exam in more detail in our full guide to the Buckinghamshire 11 plus:

What is the pass mark for Sir William Borlase School?

Your son's test papers in the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test will be marked and weighted. The English and verbal reasoning test will have a weighting of 50% applied, while the non-verbal reasoning and maths sections will be weighted at 25% each. The total of all scores will then be age-standardised to avoid any potential disadvantage for younger children. This overall mark will be your child's Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS).

The qualifying score in the Secondary Transfer Test is 121. If your child achieves a score of 121 or higher, they will be eligible for entry to Sir William Borlase's Grammar School.

Unlike other grammar schools in the country, children in Buckinghamshire are not ranked in order of their scores. Grammar school entry is entirely dependent on whether or not the child has scored 121, and whether they meet the individual school's admission criteria. We've included the admission criteria for Sir William Borlase's Grammar School below.

Sir William Borlase School admission criteria

There are 150 places available in Year 7 at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School. Children who achieve a standardised score of 121 or higher and who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which names the school will be allocated places before the admission criteria are applied.

When the number of children who meet the pass mark exceeds the number of places available, Sir William Borlase's Grammar School will apply oversubscription criteria in this order:

1. Looked after and previously looked after children

2. Up to a maximum of 10 places will be reserved for children eligible for pupil premium and living in the catchment area, who have not qualified but have achieved a score of between 110 and 120 in the Secondary Transfer Test

3. Children living in the catchment area who are eligible for free school meals, and have achieved a score of 121 or higher

4. Up to a maximum of 15 places will be reserved for children who live in the school's Priority Admissions area, allocated by random lottery

5. Children of members of staff at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

6. Children living within the school catchment area

7. Siblings of children currently on roll at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School

8. Children who have exceptional medical or social needs that can only be met at the school

9. All remaining places will then be allocated by distance order, where children living closest to the school will be prioritised

Sir William Borlase School catchment area

Sir William Borlase's Grammar School has a catchment area to prioritise eligible children living close to the school.

The Priority Admissions Area covers Stokenchurch, Cadmore End and Hambleden. The rest of the catchment area then extends to cover Marlow, Cookham Dean, Cookham Rise and north Maidenhead.

A map is available on the school website.

School Details

Type of School Grammar
Address West Street Marlow SL7 2BR
Phone 01628816500
Region Buckinghamshire


Admission Year Sept 2024
Gender in YEAR 7 Mixed


Allocation Day 1/3/2024
Open Days 4/5/2023 - 15/6/2023 More details
Academic Exam 13/9/2023 Children who attend a state-funded Buckinghamshire primary school or Partner School will sit the Transfer Test in their school. Children who attend any other school will sit the Transfer Test at a grammar school test centre (some test sessions may be scheduled shortly after this). Practice Test 12-09-2023 More details
Test Results Day 12/10/2023
CAF form 31/10/2023

Academic Selection

Number of Places 150
Standardised No
Age Standardised Yes
Total Number of Exams 2
Number of Rounds 1
Qualifying Score 121
Admission Policy View

Exam Boards

  • Granada Learning (GL)

Exam Styles

  • Multiple Choice (MC)

Sample Papers

Name Document or Link Subjects
Multiple Papers View Mixed Subjects

Find answers to our frequently asked questions about Sir William Borlase School

  • What determines admission to Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School?
    Admission is determined by performance in the 11+ Admissions Test and the qualifying score. Approximately 30% of applicants reach this score, and places are assigned based on distance from the school.
  • How can I ensure my child is prepared for the 11+ Admissions Test?
    Prepare your child by understanding the test format, practicing past papers, and focusing on time management. Consider additional tutoring or study resources to enhance their skills.
  • Are there specific provisions for students requiring additional educational support?
    Yes, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School provides appropriate support for students with special educational needs. Contact the school for further information and assistance.