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If you’re a parent looking for the best education for your child, or a student seeking the best educational opportunities, then you’re in the right place. UK Grammar schools are known for their academic excellence and rigorous curriculum, providing students with a high-quality education and preparing them for future success.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the top grammar schools in the UK and what makes them stand out from the rest. We’ll also delve into the benefits of attending a grammar school and provide tips on how to prepare for entrance exams. So, whether you’re just starting your search or looking for more information, join us as we explore the Best Grammar Schools in the UK.
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Located in Hampstead Garden Suburb, North London, The Henrietta Barnett School is an all-girls grammar school with academy status. Its establishment dates back to 1911, founded by Dame Henrietta Barnett with a mission to provide an education to girls based on their innate ability rather than their financial background.
Henrietta Barnett has been consistently recognized for its academic excellence, earning the top spot among girls’ grammar schools in national league tables. Its students achieve exceptional academic results, with many going on to attend prestigious universities such as Oxbridge, UCL, King’s College London, and LSE. In fact, in 2022, The Henrietta Barnett School was named the ‘Top Secondary School for Academic Performance’ by the Sunday Times.
Prospective Year 7 students at The Henrietta Barnett School are required to take a two-stage 11 plus test, with the first stage comprising verbal and numerical ability papers. Shortlisted candidates then proceed to take English and maths tests set by the school.
Located in Barnet, North London, Queen Elizabeth’s School is a boys’ grammar school founded in 1573 by a royal charter. It is commonly referred to as QE, and its students are known as Elizabethans.
QE provides its students with an intellectually challenging academic curriculum, encompassing both traditional and modern subjects. In addition to their regular studies, students are exposed to enrichment opportunities, such as guest lectures and symposia – collaborative research events with academically-strong girls’ schools in the area.
Prospective students interested in attending Queen Elizabeth’s School Barnet are required to take the 11 plus exam in September of Year 6. The exam comprises of written papers in English and maths.
Wilson’s School, located in Sutton, southwest London, is an all-boys grammar school with academy status. Its roots date back to 1615 when it was founded by royal charter in Camberwell, South London, making it one of England’s oldest state schools. In 2020, Wilson’s School was named the ‘London Secondary School of the Decade’ by the Sunday Times.
At Wilson’s School, boys study a broad range of subjects and participate in an enrichment programme called ‘The Elizabethan’. This programme, which includes political, cultural, and public speaking strands, is designed to foster personal development and prepare students for life in modern Britain.
Prospective students interested in attending Wilson’s School must take the 11 plus entrance exam during Year 6. As a Sutton grammar school, Wilson’s School uses the Sutton Selective Eligibility Test (SET) as the first stage of the admission process. Shortlisted pupils then take the school’s own English and maths papers.
The Tiffin Girls’ School, situated in Kingston upon Thames, is a highly-regarded all girls school that shares its roots with the boys-only Tiffin School, established in the 17th century.
The school’s mission is to provide a stimulating and outward-facing education that empowers students to thrive and make meaningful contributions to society. The Tiffin Girls’ School is renowned for its dedication to community outreach and charitable initiatives, and in 2016, it was recognized as a local winner of the Pupil Premium Awards for its exceptional attainment and value-added progress among disadvantaged students.
To gain admission to The Tiffin Girls’ School, girls must take a two-stage entrance exam in the year prior to entry. The first stage consists of English and maths tests set by GL Assessment, while the second stage involves English and maths papers developed by the school.
AGGS, short for Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, is one of the best girls grammar school located in Bowdon, Greater Manchester. In 2022, the school was awarded the title of ‘Northwest Secondary School of the Year’ by the Sunday Times. AGGS was established in 1910, following the 1902 Education Act’s initiative to build new schools with improved education for girls. With over 1,300 pupils on roll, AGGS is the largest single-sex grammar school in England.
AGGS was one of the first schools in the country to be designated a National Teaching School, and it leads in several subjects, including maths, science, PSHE, and modern foreign languages. The school is also a member of the Bright Futures Educational Trust, further underlining its reputation for academic excellence.
To gain admission to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, girls must take entrance exams that assess their skills in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and maths, in preparation for Year 7 entry.
Pate’s Grammar School is a Gloucestershire mixed grammar school with academy status founded in 1574 in Cheltenham. It was named ‘The State Secondary School of the Year’ by the Sunday Times in 2020 and received the title ‘The Southwest Secondary School of the Year’ in both 2017 and 2022.
The school community at Pate’s has a shared vision of ‘Nurturing Excellence’ through ‘Embracing Challenge’, ‘Supporting Each Other’ and ‘Shaping the Future’. Pate’s Grammar School is proud of its exceptional pastoral care for students and staff and emphasizes relationships and respect in its 2025 vision.
Entry to Pate’s Grammar School is through the Gloucestershire Grammar Schools Test in Year 6. The test comprises two papers with questions in reading comprehension, vocabulary, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and maths.
St Olave’s Grammar School is a selective state school for boys with a mixed sixth form located in Orpington, southeast London. It was founded in 1571 by royal charter and is a beneficiary of the St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Schools Foundation.
The school’s alumni, known as ‘Olavians’, have high aspirations and often attend prestigious universities in the UK and abroad. Over the last four years, 130 Olavians secured places at Oxbridge, while 102 and 171 boys went on to study engineering and medicine respectively.
Entry to St Olave’s Grammar School Boys seeking entry into St Olave’s Grammar School for Year 7 will need to take the school’s own Selective Eligibility Test (SET) in September of Year 6. The exam assesses skills in English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. Candidates who pass this initial stage will be shortlisted for second-stage tests in English and maths.
King Edward VI Grammar School is a highly-regarded boys’ grammar school located in Chelmsford, Essex. The school’s impressive academic reputation is underpinned by a strong focus on academic achievement and hard work. Recently, the school was recognized as ‘East Anglia Secondary School of the Year 2022’ by the Sunday Times.
At King Edward VI School pupils have the opportunity to participate in various extracurricular activities, including orchestras, choirs, and drama productions, as well as sports teams and clubs like the Combed Cadet Force (CCF) and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
To gain entry to King Edward VI Grammar School, boys need to take an 11-plus test set by the Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex (CSSE). This test includes papers in English and maths. If you are interested in applying to KEGS, it’s important to follow the application process set out by the school and the CSSE.
Colyton Grammar School, located in Devon, is a co-educational institution that was established in 1546 with the purpose of providing a quality and virtuous education to academically able children. The school remains committed to offering exceptional free education to boys and girls.
Colyton Grammar School prides itself on being an inclusive institution that values meritocracy. Students at the school are hardworking, and a majority of them go on to attend prestigious higher education institutions, such as Oxford, Cambridge, and the Royal College of Music.
To gain admission to Colyton Grammar School in Year 7, candidates must take two 11 plus papers, which include questions designed to test verbal, numerical, and non-verbal abilities.
Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) is one of the best grammar schools located in Colchester, Essex, England. It was founded in 1206 and is one of the oldest schools in the country. CRGS is a boys-only school for students aged 11-18 and has a reputation for academic excellence.
The school offers a broad curriculum with a particular emphasis on science, mathematics, and modern languages. It also has a strong tradition in music, drama, and sport. CRGS has a high percentage of students who go on to study at top universities in the UK, including Oxford and Cambridge.
Entry to CRGS is based on the student’s performance in the 11 plus examination, which consists of papers in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, and mathematics. The school has a rigorous selection process, with only the top-scoring students being offered a place.
Colchester Royal Grammar School is known for its strong academic reputation and has been consistently ranked among the top-performing schools in the country. The school has a supportive and challenging learning environment that encourages students to excel in their studies and to develop their talents in other areas such as music, drama, and sports.
Rochester Grammar School is a selective girls’ school located in Rochester, Kent, England. It was founded in 1888 and is one of the oldest grammar schools in the country. The school is known for its high academic standards and has a strong reputation for producing successful students.
The grammar school has consistently been ranked among the top schools in the country, with many of its students going on to attend prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. The school has a diverse curriculum, offering a range of subjects including languages, sciences, humanities, and the arts.
Admission to Rochester Grammar School is based on academic performance in the Kent Test, which is taken by students in Year 6. The school also considers a range of other factors, such as musical or sporting ability, when making admission decisions. The school has a strong focus on developing well-rounded students and offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs for its students to participate in.
Colchester County High School for Girls (CCHSG) is a selective all-girls grammar school located in Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1909 and is consistently ranked as one of the top performing schools in the country.
The school has a strong academic record, with a focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and has a tradition of sending its students to top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. CCHSG is also known for its vibrant extra-curricular activities, including music, drama, sports, and a wide range of clubs and societies. The school is selective, with entry based on academic ability through a competitive entrance exam.
Grammar schools and public schools both have their strengths and weaknesses. Grammar schools are known for providing a highly academic education, with a focus on preparing students for university. They often have a rigorous curriculum and a strong academic culture. However, grammar schools may not provide the same level of extracurricular activities and support services as public schools, which can be a disadvantage for some students.
Public schools, on the other hand, often have a wider range of extracurricular activities and support services, such as sports teams, music programs, and counseling services. They may also offer a more diverse student body and a greater emphasis on community service and social responsibility. However, public schools may not always have the same academic focus as grammar schools and some students may struggle to keep up with the pace of learning.