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Best state secondary schools in the UK
Best state secondary schools in the UK

LurnSchools guide to 'The Best Secondary State Schools' In the UK

 Best State Schools - Secondary 

It was a hard time for everyone in the pandemic, especially the education sector, and its pupils. 

Learning became remote, classes got smaller and parents became home teachers, but despite that the students and teachers did their best to continue and succeed as normal. Because of these strange circumstances, the government has announced it will not be publishing any data based on tests, assessments or exams during 2020, however here is a list of the best performing state secondary schools in the UK based on their progress scores from 2019, in no particular order.

What is a Progress 8 score? 

Progress 8 is a score that measures how far pupils have progressed from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school. The Progress 8 score of a school is usually between -1 and +1. A score of +1 indicates that students at that school accomplish one grade higher in each qualification than similar students across the country. A score of -1 indicates that they received one grade lower. 

The national average Progress 8 score for all secondary schools is 0. Schools with a Progress 8 score of less than -0.5 are not meeting the government's minimum standard. A score of +0.5 or higher indicates that students in that school are making significantly more progress than expected.

 Bexley Grammar School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Kent

 Number Of Students: 1935

 Progress 8 score: 0.24 Above average

 This school has some impressive grade results, including 96 students who achieved 8 or more 9-7 (A*/A) grades at GCSE, plus over 40% of pupils gained places at Russell Group universities. You will be able to study the full range of traditional subjects, and from year 8 students choose a second modern foreign language from an extensive range including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Bexley contains a grand range of outstanding facilities including two full-sized rugby ??pitches, three full-sized football pitches and an equipped, air-conditioned theatre with video, sound, lighting and retractable seating for 200 people. The school was awarded a second specialism in Science with Mathematics, then granted HPSS (High Performing Specialist School) and eventually designated a number one Edge School, enhanced with Gifted and Talented provision.

Brentside Highschool


 Type Of School: Maintained School

 Location: Ealing, London

 Number Of Students: 1557

 Progress 8 score: 0.24 Above average

 Brentside was awarded amongst the best state schools within the country for A-Levels and has been awarded Gold Club status under a scheme funded by prime minister Boris Johnson to recognize exceptional schools within the capital. Brentside highschool is five times Arts Mark Gold Award Winner and the school also supports students with SEN (Special Educational Needs) in their classes.

 Queen Elizabeth's Grammar Alford


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Alford

 Number Of Students: 570

 Progress 8 score: 0.43 Above average

 Queen Elizabeth’s was founded in 1566 and. Students were originally a Business & Enterprise College, Students are encouraged to line up their own businesses, trade-in school, and there is also a venture fund to support them. Now they operate as a selective school, currently having around 570 pupils and on their last Ofsted inspection they were awarded the very best rating, ‘Outstanding’. 2016’s A level results were 79% A*-B being the best score ever in Lincolnshire.

 Heckmondwike Grammar School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: West Yorkshire

 Number Of Students: 1466

 Progress 8 score: 0.53 Well above average

 The Building Committee of the Heckmondwike board of education decided to form a school on its high street and add up to 900 children in 1894, since then it's grown into a successful mixed grammar school. Impressively, 79% of their students achieved five or more GCSEs at grades built-in, is, also9-7. Sixth form students also follow an exclusive A-level program of study, with students opting to study three to four A-levels with over thirty subjects to choose from.

 Chelmsford County Highschool For Girls


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Chelmsford

 Number Of Students: 987

 Progress 8 score: 0.8 Well above average

 Chelmsford County high school or "CCHS" for short, is a ladies selective grammar school for girls in Chelmsford, Essex that was founded in 1907. Entrance to the school is by an educational selection test, that features having to take a rigorous exam. The competition for places is rife, and only accepting the brightest girls within the country. There's a range of societies you will be able to join ran by pupils including Art Club, Chess Club, CHIPs (Charity Club), Economics & Politics Society, Film Society, French Literature Society, Harry Potter Club, Junior Creative Writing Club, Junior Debating Club and many more!

 Wallington County Grammar School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Sutton

 Number Of Students: 1,095

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 0.84

 Wallington County Grammar School is a selective boy state grammar school with a coeducational sixth form that was founded in 1927 with only 72 pupils, the parents only had to pay £3 a term, which is significantly different to private school fees nowadays. In 2009 the school was awarded ‘High Performing Specialist School’ status and then received a second specialism in Applied Learning.

  King VI of England Grammar School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Chelmsford

 Number Of Students: 1117

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 0.84

 King Edward VI or also named ‘Kegs’ for short, Is among England’s leading state grammar schools, built in 1551. Recent results have put them within the highest rankings for GCSE and A level results, 23 students who left in Summer 2019 went on to enrol at Oxford or Cambridge, a pattern that continues to repeat. At GCSE in 2019, KEGS pupils achieved the highest average number of top grades (7-9) per pupil of any other state school. A level and Pre-U results were also very successful, with 87% of grades resulting in A*-B and 65% coming in at A*/A.

 The Henrietta Barnett School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Hampstead

 Number Of Students: 1911

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 0.09

 Henrietta Barnett is a selective grammar school for girls founded in 1911 and located within the tranquil surroundings of the Hampstead Garden Suburb, the school is a delightful Grade II* Listed Building designed by Edwin Lutyen. Around 40% of pupils at Henrietta Barnett continue to Oxbridge and/or to read Medicine, Dentistry or veterinary medicine in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

 The facilities recently received a million-pound makeover and include a main science building wing with over three floors providing custom-made buildings for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The school also includes impressive sports courts within newly landscaped areas for Hockey, Netball, Tennis, Football and Volleyball. Over 50% of pupils received A* results in GCSEs and 86% received A*/A for A-levels while 87% of pupils achieved A* and 98% A*/A for GCSE in summer 2020. Ofsted has commented, “The school’s provision for pupils’ broader development is of prime quality. A rich programme of extra-curricular activities is accessible, including in sports and arts, inspectors saw nothing but impeccable behaviour, with pupils highly fascinated by their learning”

 Wallington High School Grammar


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Surrey

 Number Of Students: 1303

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 1.07

 Wallington High School was established in 1888 by a collective of nuns. It is now a successful grammar school for girls. The school is paired with Wallington County School for boys. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are fully supported, however follow the same full academic programme as others. The school is also selective and requires year 7 students to complete an entrance exam.

 Kendrick school


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Reading

 Number Of Students: 690

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 1.29

 Kendrick School is a selective school for girls located in Reading, Berkshire. It is acknowledged as being amongst the greatest state schools in the country. The school boasts some impressive facilities including a Sports Hall (badminton, netball, volleyball, basketball, etc) Dance Studio, Floodlit Outdoor Courts (netball, tennis, etc) and Swimming Pool.

 The Blue Coat School

 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Liverpool

 Number Of Students: 1107

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 0.66

 This school was originally opened in 1708 aimed to teach poor children to read, now it’s a very renowned academy, and the only grammar school in Liverpool. In 2017, the students achieved the top A-Level results the School has ever seen and were even featured in the Sunday Times as ‘North West State Secondary School of the Year.’ And in 2019 54 % of all grades were '9-8' and 78 % were graded’ 9-7'. In 2012 Ofsted awarded the school an “outstanding” rating.

  Dartford Grammar School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Dartford

 Number Of Students: 1,203

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 0.75

 Dartford is a selective boy’s grammar school in Kent, Dartford, and is one of the oldest schools in England. All the students accepted are considered to be from the top 25% of the ability range, determined by the 11-Plus examinations. The school follows the national curriculum as well as The International Baccalaureate. Every student studies either Mandarin Chinese or Japanese from Year 7 and then an additional European language from Year 8. The School received The Sunday Times IB School of the Year award in both 2017 and 2020 and the ICT Innovation Award is given by Education Business. The school boasts a large live performance building, opened by the HRH Duke of Kent and Mick Jagger, suitably named ‘Mick Jagger’ Centre.

 Heartlands Academy


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: Birmingham

 Number Of Students: 878

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 1.47

 Heartlands Academy is a coeducational secondary school, located in Nechells, Birmingham.  Despite being situated in the 16th most deprived area of the UK, Heartlands Academy is ranked the number one sponsored academy in the country for progress and sixth overall in the national league tables. It was named secondary school of the year and overall school of the year in the 2020 Tes Schools Awards and continues to offer pupils an outstanding education.

 Michaela Community School


 Type Of School: Academy

 Location: London

 Number Of Students: 597

 Progress 8 score: Well above average 1.53

 Michaela Community School is a mixed, secondary school sixth form school in Wembley, London. The school has been featured on many news channels, like good morning Britain and Channel 4 News. They commit to open a second free school in Stevenage, with a planned opening in 2023. In August 2019, half the pupils who took exams got Grade 7 or above in a minimum of five subjects and 1 / 4 got Grade 7 or better in all their subjects.

 The school encompasses a traditional way of teaching, and has a zero-tolerance for bad behavior, this even includes a "boot camp" week at the start of the year and teaches the pupils the rules and consequences of breaking them. Lunchtime consists of what’s called "family lunch", where pupils sit at tables of six, plus one teacher, and take responsibility for serving one another. They lay the table together, one pours the water, and another brings the food and serves it, somebody else serves dessert and two pupils clear the table afterwards. Teachers will sit with the students and discuss what the pupils have learned that day or a topic of the day. After eating, the pupils spend five minutes thanking someone, followed by two claps from the remainder of the school. By teaching gratitude, the school believes it's teaching kindness and happiness.









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