Best Grammar Schools In UK – A Comprehensive Guide For 2023
Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the best grammar schools in the UK for the year 2023. In this article, we will explore the top-performing grammar schools across the country, providing you with valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your child’s education. Whether you are seeking an academically rigorous environment, a nurturing atmosphere, or a school with a specific focus, our guide will showcase the finest institutions that meet your criteria.
Table of Contents
What is a Grammar School?
A grammar school is a type of secondary school that admits students based on their academic ability. These schools have a long-standing tradition and are known for providing a more academically focused education. Grammar schools select their students through an entrance examination, often taken in the year before students would start secondary education. The aim is to admit students who demonstrate high academic potential. Once admitted, students receive a comprehensive education that typically emphasises traditional academic subjects such as mathematics, sciences, and humanities.
Grammar schools are usually publicly funded and do not charge tuition fees, making them accessible to students from various backgrounds. Grammar schools in the UK have faced its fair share of criticism. Many believe that very few children from low-income backgrounds get a spot in these institutions. Nevertheless, schools are continually reviewing their entry procedure to ensure they attract the most able children, rather than those best prepared to pass entrance exams.
UK Grammar School Admission Process
Grammar schools select their candidates based on the strength of their performance in the 11+ examination. Tests usually include some or all of mathematics, English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. However, the exact entry requirements and competition for places vary, and they can change year on year. As no schools are permitted to interview the potential candidates and their parents, performance in this test will be the main admissions criteria.
A few schools do test for entry at 13+, and some also conduct tests at 16+. Ultimately, admissions is possible at other times if places are available and the child meets the academic criteria.
However, there are a number of students that do not receive offers every year for various reasons. If your child narrowly missed the required mark or has not performed as expected in the tests, or if they passed the test but did not receive an offer, there is still hope. You can actually challenge this decision through an appeal. Check out this step-by-step guide to learn more about the process.
Best Grammar Schools in the UK
1. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
More than 1,000 students compete for around 170 spots in this fine institution every year. So yes there is no surprise why Altrincham Grammar School for Girls sits at the top of our list. The school boasts excellent GCSE and A Level results, with an impressive number of students moving on to Russell Group universities and also Oxbridge.
2. Wilson's School
With a success rate of 4 to 1, bright pupils from 75 feeder schools work hard for their place in Wilson’s School. A total of 180 places are offered each year, where Sutton children will have a slight advantage when there is a tie break. Students will have to continue their hard work as there is no automatic entry into sixth form, although most of them do make it. Upon completion, the majority of graduates move on to prestigious universities and apprenticeships.
3. Newstead Wood School
Around 1200 applicants fight for 160 spots in Newstead Wood School each year. While academic performance remain the main criteria, preference will be given to candidates that live within 9 miles, then those on pupil premium, then children of staff. Three quarter of the students continue after GCSE and then most of them will progress to top universities based on their all-rounded excellence.
4. Dartford Grammar School for Girls
The Dartford Grammar School for Girls have shown excellent academic performance in the past years. 100 out of 180 places are usually reserved for girls residing in Dartford or one of the named parishes. The remaining spots will be allocated based on their performance in the Kent Test. There is also a priority list for pupil premium. Moving forward, the key priorities include: leadership and management, quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and wellbeing.
5. Dr Challoner's High School
This should be a familiar name as they regularly float around the top of regional and national state school league tables. Students from around 50 feeder schools compete for the 180 coveted spots in Dr Challoner’s High School every year. While most of the students stay on to the sixth form, the school opens up around 40 more spots for those from other schools. The school is very proud that graduates progress in various directions, where only 6 or 7 go to any one university.
UK Grammar Schools Ranking
|School name||Town||Gender||Attainment 8||Progress 8|
|Altrincham Grammar School for Girls||Altrincham||GIRLS||88.1||1.06|
|Newstead Wood School||Orpington||GIRLS||86.2||1.05|
|Dartford Grammar School for Girls||Dartford||GIRLS||85.4||1.02|
|Dr Challoner's High School||Amersham||GIRLS||85.2||1.02|
|Wirral Grammar School for Girls||Wirral||GIRLS||85.1||1|
|The Henrietta Barnett School||London||GIRLS||85||0.98|
|Woodford County High School||Woodford Green||GIRLS||84.6||0.98|
|Beaconsfield High School||Beaconsfield||GIRLS||84.1||0.97|
|Highworth Grammar School||Ashford||GIRLS||84||0.96|
|St Olave's Grammar School||Orpington||BOYS||84||0.95|
|Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet||Barnet||BOYS||83.9||0.94|
|Stratford Girls' Grammar School||Stratford-upon-Avon||GIRLS||83.6||0.93|
|Colchester County High School for Girls||Colchester||GIRLS||83.6||0.92|
|Dartford Grammar School||Dartford||BOYS||83.2||0.92|
|Ripon Grammar School||Ripon||MIXED||82.8||0.92|
|Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School||Rochester||BOYS||82.8||0.92|
|The Tiffin Girls' School||Kingston upon Thames||GIRLS||82.5||0.92|
|Chelmsford County High School for Girls||Chelmsford||GIRLS||82.3||0.91|
|Upton Hall School FCJ||Wirral||GIRLS||82||0.91|
|Wallington High School for Girls||Wallington||GIRLS||81.8||0.91|
|Langley Grammar School||Langley||MIXED||81.7||0.9|
|Nonsuch High School for Girls||Sutton||GIRLS||81.4||0.9|
|Colyton Grammar School||Colyton||MIXED||81.2||0.88|
|Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar School||Tunbridge Wells||GIRLS||81.1||0.88|
|Wycombe High School||High Wycombe||GIRLS||80.9||0.88|
|Sir Thomas Rich's School||Gloucester||BOYS||80.6||0.87|
|King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys||Birmingham||BOYS||80.4||0.86|
|King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford||Chelmsford||MIXED||80.2||0.83|
|The King's School, Grantham||Grantham||BOYS||80.1||0.83|
|Weald of Kent Grammar School||Tonbridge||GIRLS||80||0.82|
|Westcliff High School for Boys Academy||Westcliff-on-Sea||BOYS||79.7||0.82|
|Devonport High School for Girls||Plymouth||GIRLS||79.6||0.81|
|Loreto Grammar School||Altrincham||GIRLS||79.6||0.79|
|Royal Latin School||Buckingham||MIXED||79.5||0.79|
|Newport Girls' High School||Newport||GIRLS||79.4||0.78|
|St Michael's Catholic Grammar School||London||GIRLS||79.4||0.78|
|Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls||Sutton Coldfield||GIRLS||79.3||0.78|
|Bourne Grammar School||Bourne||MIXED||79.2||0.77|
|King Edward VI School (Stratford-upon-Avon)||Stratford-upon-Avon||BOYS||78.7||0.77|
|Pate's Grammar School||Cheltenham||MIXED||78.6||0.77|
|Queen Mary's Grammar School||Walsall||BOYS||78.4||0.77|
|Stretford Grammar School||Manchester||MIXED||78.3||0.77|
|King Edward VI Five Ways School||Birmingham||MIXED||78||0.76|
|The Rochester Grammar School||Rochester||GIRLS||77.9||0.76|
|Dr Challoner's Grammar School||Amersham||BOYS||77.9||0.75|
|Southend High School for Boys||Southend-on-Sea||BOYS||77.9||0.75|
|Chesham Grammar School||Chesham||MIXED||77.9||0.74|
|Herschel Grammar School||Slough||MIXED||77.8||0.74|
|Ilford County High School||Ilford||BOYS||77.8||0.74|
|King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls||Birmingham||GIRLS||77.8||0.74|
|Saint Ambrose College||Altrincham||BOYS||77.8||0.74|
|The Blue Coat School||Liverpool||MIXED||77.6||0.74|
|The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe||High Wycombe||BOYS||77.4||0.74|
|Aylesbury Grammar School||Aylesbury||BOYS||77.3||0.73|
|Heckmondwike Grammar School||Heckmondwike||MIXED||77.2||0.73|
|Sutton Grammar School||Sutton||BOYS||77.1||0.73|
|Wolverhampton Girls' High School||Wolverhampton||GIRLS||77||0.73|
|Lancaster Girls' Grammar School||Lancaster||GIRLS||76.9||0.72|
|Queen Mary's High School||Walsall||GIRLS||76.8||0.72|
|Wilmington Grammar School for Girls||Dartford||GIRLS||76.7||0.72|
|Oakwood Park Grammar School||Maidstone||BOYS||76.7||0.71|
|Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School||Grantham||GIRLS||76.6||0.7|
|Westcliff High School for Girls||Westcliff-on-Sea||GIRLS||76.5||0.7|
|Burnham Grammar School||Slough||MIXED||76.4||0.69|
|John Hampden Grammar School||High Wycombe||BOYS||76.3||0.69|
|Aylesbury High School||Aylesbury||GIRLS||76.3||0.68|
|Stroud High School||Stroud||GIRLS||76.2||0.68|
|The Latymer School||London||MIXED||76.2||0.68|
|Sale Grammar School||Sale||MIXED||76||0.67|
|Colchester Royal Grammar School||Colchester||BOYS||76||0.66|
|Southend High School for Girls||Southend-on-Sea||GIRLS||75.8||0.65|
|Bexley Grammar School||Welling||MIXED||75.7||0.64|
|Ermysted's Grammar School||Skipton||BOYS||75.7||0.64|
|Caistor Grammar School||Market Rasen||MIXED||75.4||0.61|
|Lawrence Sheriff School||Rugby||BOYS||75.3||0.61|
|St Bernard's Catholic Grammar School||Slough||MIXED||75||0.61|
|Tonbridge Grammar School||Tonbridge||GIRLS||75||0.61|
|Townley Grammar School||Bexleyheath||GIRLS||74.9||0.61|
|Denmark Road High School||Gloucester||GIRLS||74.8||0.6|
|Rugby High School||Rugby||GIRLS||74.7||0.6|
|Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School||Salisbury||BOYS||74.6||0.59|
|South Wilts Grammar School for Girls||Salisbury||GIRLS||74.4||0.59|
|Spalding High School||Spalding||GIRLS||74.4||0.59|
|Fort Pitt Grammar School||Chatham||GIRLS||74.2||0.58|
|The Crypt School||Gloucester||MIXED||74.2||0.58|
|Beths Grammar School||Bexley||BOYS||74.1||0.57|
|Bishop Vesey's Grammar School||Sutton Coldfield||BOYS||73.8||0.57|
|King Edward VI Handsworth School||Birmingham||GIRLS||73.7||0.56|
|Chatham Grammar School for Girls||Chatham||GIRLS||73.3||0.55|
|Sir William Borlase's Grammar School||Marlow||MIXED||72.7||0.55|
|Urmston Grammar Academy||Manchester||MIXED||72.7||0.55|
|Lancaster Royal Grammar School||Lancaster||MIXED||72.6||0.54|
|Clitheroe Royal Grammar School||Clitheroe||MIXED||72.4||0.51|
|The Harvey Grammar School||Folkestone||BOYS||72.4||0.51|
|Upton Court Grammar School||Slough||MIXED||72.3||0.51|
|Skipton Girls' High School||Skipton||GIRLS||72.3||0.5|
|Bournemouth School for Girls||Bournemouth||GIRLS||72.1||0.49|
|West Kirby Grammar School||Wirral||GIRLS||72.1||0.49|
|King Edward VI Aston School||Birmingham||BOYS||71.9||0.48|
|Barton Court Grammar School||Canterbury||MIXED||71.8||0.47|
|Churston Ferrers Grammar School||Brixham||MIXED||71.8||0.47|
|Tiffin School||Kingston upon Thames||BOYS||71.8||0.47|
|Maidstone Grammar School for Girls||Maidstone||GIRLS||71.7||0.46|
|Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Horncastle||Horncastle||MIXED||71.6||0.45|
|Ribston Hall High School||Gloucester||GIRLS||71.3||0.45|
|Alcester Grammar School||Alcester||MIXED||71.3||0.44|
|Kesteven and Sleaford High School Selective Academy||Sleaford||GIRLS||71.2||0.44|
|Wallington County Grammar School||Wallington||BOYS||71.1||0.43|
|Invicta Grammar School||Maidstone||GIRLS||71.1||0.42|
|Rainham Mark Grammar School||Gillingham||MIXED||70.7||0.42|
|Skegness Grammar School||Skegness||MIXED||70.5||0.42|
|Torquay Boys' Grammar School||Torquay||BOYS||70.5||0.42|
|Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School||Sidcup||MIXED||70.4||0.41|
|Torquay Girls' Grammar School||Torquay||GIRLS||70||0.4|
|Wilmington Grammar School for Boys||Dartford||BOYS||69.9||0.4|
|The Judd School||Tonbridge||BOYS||69.5||0.39|
|King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys||Birmingham||BOYS||69.3||0.37|
|Parkstone Grammar School||Poole||GIRLS||69.2||0.37|
|Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School||Canterbury||GIRLS||68.8||0.37|
|Wirral Grammar School for Boys||Wirral||BOYS||68.6||0.37|
|Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (Penrith)||Penrith||MIXED||68.6||0.35|
|The Folkestone School for Girls||Folkestone||GIRLS||68.4||0.35|
|Gravesend Grammar School||Gravesend||BOYS||68.3||0.34|
|Mayfield Grammar School, Gravesend||Gravesend||GIRLS||68.3||0.31|
|Holcombe Grammar School||Chatham||BOYS||67.9||0.3|
|The Norton Knatchbull School||Ashford||BOYS||67.7||0.3|
|The Crossley Heath School||Halifax||MIXED||67.6||0.29|
|Calday Grange Grammar School||Wirral||BOYS||67.5||0.28|
|Spalding Grammar School||Spalding||BOYS||67.3||0.28|
|Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School||Aylesbury||MIXED||67.2||0.27|
|Plymouth High School for Girls||Plymouth||GIRLS||67.2||0.26|
|Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys||Canterbury||BOYS||67.1||0.26|
|Dane Court Grammar School||Broadstairs||MIXED||67||0.25|
|Poole Grammar School||Poole||BOYS||67||0.25|
|Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School||Rossendale||MIXED||66.8||0.24|
|Altrincham Grammar School for Boys||Altrincham||BOYS||66.7||0.23|
|Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys||Tunbridge Wells||BOYS||66.7||0.23|
|Maidstone Grammar School||Maidstone||BOYS||66.2||0.2|
|The Queen Elizabeth's High School, Gainsborough||Gainsborough||MIXED||65.7||0.19|
|King Edward VI Grammar School||Louth||MIXED||65.4||0.18|
|Dover Grammar School for Girls||Dover||GIRLS||64.8||0.17|
|St Anselm's College||Prenton||BOYS||64.7||0.16|
|Devonport High School for Boys||Plymouth||BOYS||64.3||0.15|
|Highsted Grammar School||Sittingbourne||GIRLS||63.9||0.11|
|The North Halifax Grammar School||Halifax||MIXED||63.6||0.08|
|Sir Roger Manwood's School||Sandwich||MIXED||62.7||0.06|
|Borden Grammar School||Sittingbourne||BOYS||62.6||0.04|
|The Skinners' School||Tunbridge Wells||BOYS||61.2||0.02|
|Queen Elizabeth's Grammar||Alford||MIXED||61||0.01|
|Dover Grammar School for Boys||Dover||BOYS||59.8||0|
|Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School||Ramsgate||MIXED||59.4||-0.05|
|Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School||Ashbourne||MIXED||57.6||-0.06|
|The Boston Grammar School||Boston||BOYS||57.5||-0.07|
|Boston High School||Boston||GIRLS||57||-0.1|
|Carre's Grammar School||Sleaford||MIXED||52.8||-0.14|
|St Joseph's College||London||BOYS||45.2||-0.2|
How are the Rankings Measured?
The above rankings are based on each grammar school’s Attainment 8 scores. This is an annual metric that reflects the collective academic achievement of a secondary school. This measure is derived by summing up the highest scores attained by students across eight school subjects approved by the government.
The Progress 8 column provides a more holistic view of each school’s performance. Progress 8 is a valuable metric used to assess the progress made by students in UK grammar schools over a five-year period. This measure focuses on the improvement achieved by students in comparison to their expected level of progress, as determined by the government.
While it may initially seem complex, let’s break it down. Progress 8 takes into account a student’s performance in relation to their peers at the primary school level and compares it to their performance in their GCSE exams, as reflected in their Attainment 8 score. By conducting a series of calculations, Progress 8 determines whether an individual has progressed at, above, or below the expected level.
Frequently Asked Questions about UK Grammar Schools
To apply for a grammar school, you typically need to register your child for the school’s entrance examination, which is usually taken in the year before they would start secondary education. Each grammar school has its own admission process, so it’s important to check the specific requirements and deadlines of the schools you are interested in.
Grammar schools are designed for academically able students, but the level of required ability can vary between schools. Some grammar schools have more stringent entrance requirements than others.
Yes, grammar schools in the UK are state-funded and, like other state schools, do not charge tuition fees. However, there may be additional costs for uniforms, textbooks, and extracurricular activities.
Grammar schools have a track record of sending a higher proportion of their students to top universities compared to non-selective schools. However, it’s important to note that admission to top universities is competitive, and other factors such as academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and personal statements also play a significant role in the university application process.
Grammar schools can be either single-sex or co-educational. The admission policies regarding gender vary between schools, so it’s necessary to research the specific schools you are interested in to determine their gender policies.
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