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. 

Best Grammar Schools In UK

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 nameTownGenderAttainment 8Progress 8
Altrincham Grammar School for GirlsAltrinchamGIRLS88.11.06
Wilson's SchoolWallingtonBOYS86.61.06
Newstead Wood SchoolOrpingtonGIRLS86.21.05
Dartford Grammar School for GirlsDartfordGIRLS85.41.02
Dr Challoner's High SchoolAmershamGIRLS85.21.02
Wirral Grammar School for GirlsWirralGIRLS85.11
The Henrietta Barnett SchoolLondonGIRLS850.98
Woodford County High SchoolWoodford GreenGIRLS84.60.98
Beaconsfield High SchoolBeaconsfieldGIRLS84.10.97
Highworth Grammar SchoolAshfordGIRLS840.96
St Olave's Grammar SchoolOrpingtonBOYS840.95
Kendrick SchoolReadingGIRLS83.90.94
Queen Elizabeth's School, BarnetBarnetBOYS83.90.94
Stratford Girls' Grammar SchoolStratford-upon-AvonGIRLS83.60.93
Colchester County High School for GirlsColchesterGIRLS83.60.92
Dartford Grammar SchoolDartfordBOYS83.20.92
Ripon Grammar SchoolRiponMIXED82.80.92
Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical SchoolRochesterBOYS82.80.92
The Tiffin Girls' SchoolKingston upon ThamesGIRLS82.50.92
Chelmsford County High School for GirlsChelmsfordGIRLS82.30.91
Upton Hall School FCJWirralGIRLS820.91
Wallington High School for GirlsWallingtonGIRLS81.80.91
Langley Grammar SchoolLangleyMIXED81.70.9
Nonsuch High School for GirlsSuttonGIRLS81.40.9
Colyton Grammar SchoolColytonMIXED81.20.88
Tunbridge Wells Girls' Grammar SchoolTunbridge WellsGIRLS81.10.88
Wycombe High SchoolHigh WycombeGIRLS80.90.88
Sir Thomas Rich's SchoolGloucesterBOYS80.60.87
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for BoysBirminghamBOYS80.40.86
King Edward VI Grammar School, ChelmsfordChelmsfordMIXED80.20.83
The King's School, GranthamGranthamBOYS80.10.83
Weald of Kent Grammar SchoolTonbridgeGIRLS800.82
Westcliff High School for Boys AcademyWestcliff-on-SeaBOYS79.70.82
Devonport High School for GirlsPlymouthGIRLS79.60.81
Loreto Grammar SchoolAltrinchamGIRLS79.60.79
Royal Latin SchoolBuckinghamMIXED79.50.79
Newport Girls' High SchoolNewportGIRLS79.40.78
St Michael's Catholic Grammar SchoolLondonGIRLS79.40.78
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for GirlsSutton ColdfieldGIRLS79.30.78
Bourne Grammar SchoolBourneMIXED79.20.77
King Edward VI School (Stratford-upon-Avon)Stratford-upon-AvonBOYS78.70.77
Pate's Grammar SchoolCheltenhamMIXED78.60.77
Queen Mary's Grammar SchoolWalsallBOYS78.40.77
Stretford Grammar SchoolManchesterMIXED78.30.77
King Edward VI Five Ways SchoolBirminghamMIXED780.76
The Rochester Grammar SchoolRochesterGIRLS77.90.76
Dr Challoner's Grammar SchoolAmershamBOYS77.90.75
Southend High School for BoysSouthend-on-SeaBOYS77.90.75
Chesham Grammar SchoolCheshamMIXED77.90.74
Herschel Grammar SchoolSloughMIXED77.80.74
Ilford County High SchoolIlfordBOYS77.80.74
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for GirlsBirminghamGIRLS77.80.74
Saint Ambrose CollegeAltrinchamBOYS77.80.74
The Blue Coat SchoolLiverpoolMIXED77.60.74
The Royal Grammar School, High WycombeHigh WycombeBOYS77.40.74
Aylesbury Grammar SchoolAylesburyBOYS77.30.73
Heckmondwike Grammar SchoolHeckmondwikeMIXED77.20.73
Sutton Grammar SchoolSuttonBOYS77.10.73
Wolverhampton Girls' High SchoolWolverhamptonGIRLS770.73
Lancaster Girls' Grammar SchoolLancasterGIRLS76.90.72
Queen Mary's High SchoolWalsallGIRLS76.80.72
Wilmington Grammar School for GirlsDartfordGIRLS76.70.72
Oakwood Park Grammar SchoolMaidstoneBOYS76.70.71
Kesteven and Grantham Girls' SchoolGranthamGIRLS76.60.7
Westcliff High School for GirlsWestcliff-on-SeaGIRLS76.50.7
Burnham Grammar SchoolSloughMIXED76.40.69
John Hampden Grammar SchoolHigh WycombeBOYS76.30.69
Aylesbury High SchoolAylesburyGIRLS76.30.68
Stroud High SchoolStroudGIRLS76.20.68
The Latymer SchoolLondonMIXED76.20.68
Sale Grammar SchoolSaleMIXED760.67
Colchester Royal Grammar SchoolColchesterBOYS760.66
Southend High School for GirlsSouthend-on-SeaGIRLS75.80.65
Bexley Grammar SchoolWellingMIXED75.70.64
Ermysted's Grammar SchoolSkiptonBOYS75.70.64
Reading SchoolReadingBOYS75.50.64
Caistor Grammar SchoolMarket RasenMIXED75.40.61
Lawrence Sheriff SchoolRugbyBOYS75.30.61
St Bernard's Catholic Grammar SchoolSloughMIXED750.61
Tonbridge Grammar SchoolTonbridgeGIRLS750.61
Townley Grammar SchoolBexleyheathGIRLS74.90.61
Denmark Road High SchoolGloucesterGIRLS74.80.6
Rugby High SchoolRugbyGIRLS74.70.6
Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar SchoolSalisburyBOYS74.60.59
South Wilts Grammar School for GirlsSalisburyGIRLS74.40.59
Spalding High SchoolSpaldingGIRLS74.40.59
Fort Pitt Grammar SchoolChathamGIRLS74.20.58
The Crypt SchoolGloucesterMIXED74.20.58
Beths Grammar SchoolBexleyBOYS74.10.57
Bishop Vesey's Grammar SchoolSutton ColdfieldBOYS73.80.57
King Edward VI Handsworth SchoolBirminghamGIRLS73.70.56
Chatham Grammar School for GirlsChathamGIRLS73.30.55
Sir William Borlase's Grammar SchoolMarlowMIXED72.70.55
Urmston Grammar AcademyManchesterMIXED72.70.55
Lancaster Royal Grammar SchoolLancasterMIXED72.60.54
Clitheroe Royal Grammar SchoolClitheroeMIXED72.40.51
The Harvey Grammar SchoolFolkestoneBOYS72.40.51
Upton Court Grammar SchoolSloughMIXED72.30.51
Skipton Girls' High SchoolSkiptonGIRLS72.30.5
Bournemouth School for GirlsBournemouthGIRLS72.10.49
West Kirby Grammar SchoolWirralGIRLS72.10.49
King Edward VI Aston SchoolBirminghamBOYS71.90.48
Barton Court Grammar SchoolCanterburyMIXED71.80.47
Churston Ferrers Grammar SchoolBrixhamMIXED71.80.47
Tiffin SchoolKingston upon ThamesBOYS71.80.47
Maidstone Grammar School for GirlsMaidstoneGIRLS71.70.46
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, HorncastleHorncastleMIXED71.60.45
Ribston Hall High SchoolGloucesterGIRLS71.30.45
Alcester Grammar SchoolAlcesterMIXED71.30.44
Kesteven and Sleaford High School Selective AcademySleafordGIRLS71.20.44
Wallington County Grammar SchoolWallingtonBOYS71.10.43
Invicta Grammar SchoolMaidstoneGIRLS71.10.42
Rainham Mark Grammar SchoolGillinghamMIXED70.70.42
Skegness Grammar SchoolSkegnessMIXED70.50.42
Torquay Boys' Grammar SchoolTorquayBOYS70.50.42
Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar SchoolSidcupMIXED70.40.41
Marling SchoolStroudBOYS70.30.4
Torquay Girls' Grammar SchoolTorquayGIRLS700.4
Wilmington Grammar School for BoysDartfordBOYS69.90.4
Haberdashers' AdamsNewportBOYS69.60.39
The Judd SchoolTonbridgeBOYS69.50.39
Bournemouth SchoolBournemouthBOYS69.40.38
King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for BoysBirminghamBOYS69.30.37
Parkstone Grammar SchoolPooleGIRLS69.20.37
Simon Langton Girls' Grammar SchoolCanterburyGIRLS68.80.37
Wirral Grammar School for BoysWirralBOYS68.60.37
Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (Penrith)PenrithMIXED68.60.35
The Folkestone School for GirlsFolkestoneGIRLS68.40.35
Gravesend Grammar SchoolGravesendBOYS68.30.34
Mayfield Grammar School, GravesendGravesendGIRLS68.30.31
Holcombe Grammar SchoolChathamBOYS67.90.3
The Norton Knatchbull SchoolAshfordBOYS67.70.3
The Crossley Heath SchoolHalifaxMIXED67.60.29
Calday Grange Grammar SchoolWirralBOYS67.50.28
Spalding Grammar SchoolSpaldingBOYS67.30.28
Sir Henry Floyd Grammar SchoolAylesburyMIXED67.20.27
Plymouth High School for GirlsPlymouthGIRLS67.20.26
Simon Langton Grammar School for BoysCanterburyBOYS67.10.26
Dane Court Grammar SchoolBroadstairsMIXED670.25
Poole Grammar SchoolPooleBOYS670.25
Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar SchoolRossendaleMIXED66.80.24
Altrincham Grammar School for BoysAltrinchamBOYS66.70.23
Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for BoysTunbridge WellsBOYS66.70.23
Maidstone Grammar SchoolMaidstoneBOYS66.20.2
The Queen Elizabeth's High School, GainsboroughGainsboroughMIXED65.70.19
King Edward VI Grammar SchoolLouthMIXED65.40.18
Dover Grammar School for GirlsDoverGIRLS64.80.17
St Anselm's CollegePrentonBOYS64.70.16
Devonport High School for BoysPlymouthBOYS64.30.15
Highsted Grammar SchoolSittingbourneGIRLS63.90.11
The North Halifax Grammar SchoolHalifaxMIXED63.60.08
Sir Roger Manwood's SchoolSandwichMIXED62.70.06
Borden Grammar SchoolSittingbourneBOYS62.60.04
The Skinners' SchoolTunbridge WellsBOYS61.20.02
Queen Elizabeth's GrammarAlfordMIXED610.01
Cranbrook SchoolCranbrookMIXED60.10
Dover Grammar School for BoysDoverBOYS59.80
Chatham & Clarendon Grammar SchoolRamsgateMIXED59.4-0.05
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar SchoolAshbourneMIXED57.6-0.06
The Boston Grammar SchoolBostonBOYS57.5-0.07
Boston High SchoolBostonGIRLS57-0.1
Carre's Grammar SchoolSleafordMIXED52.8-0.14
St Joseph's CollegeLondonBOYS45.2-0.2

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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