Which are the best schools in the north?

Here’s the best Northern schools from the 2024 Sunday Times North school league tables.


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Which of your nearest Northern schools are high performers?

Compare north schools’ performance.

How do the best northern private schools compare to the top UK secondary schools? Which are the best schools in the north?

Best North state schools and grammar schools in the north

Regional rank / school / national rank

1. Ripon Grammar School (65=)
2. Heckmondwike Grammar School (77)
3. St Mary’s College, Hull (92)
4. Archbishop Holgate’s School, York (188)
5. Fulford School, York (189)
6. High Storrs School, Sheffield (201)
7. Silverdale School, Sheffield (218=)
8. St Mary’s Menston (222)
9. Ilkley Grammar School (242)
10. Tapton School, Sheffield (244)



Which are the highest performing Northern comprehensive schools?

1. St Mary’s College, Hull (92)
2. Archbishop Holgate’s School, York (188)
3. Fulford School, York (189)
4. Silverdale School, Sheffield (218=)
5. St Mary’s Menston (222)


Which are the highest performing Northern private schools?

1. Queen Ethelburga’s College, York (17)
2. Sheffield High School for Girls (83)
3. The Grammar School at Leeds (106)
4. Bradford Grammar School (110)
5. St Peter’s School, York (114=)
6. The Mount School York (183)
7. The Faculty of Queen Ethelburga’s, York (192)
8. Birkdale School, Sheffield (208)
9. Harrogate Ladies’ College (212)
10. Hill House School (219)


How to get into the top schools in the north?

Getting your child into the best northern school for them is all about:

  • Researching which are the highest rated schools in your local area.
  • Planning alternatives in advance – since there is of course no guarantee of your first choice working out.

  • Realistically assessing your current financial situation.


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Top independent school entry test practice

11+ entry past papers and MATHS 11+ and ENGLISH 11+ test prep

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city view best north-west Schools 2021

THE best north west private schools

How do the best north west private schools compare to the top UK secondary schools / Best private schools in the UK?

1 Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
2 The Blue Coat School, Liverpool
3 Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
4 Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School
5 Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham
6 Wirral Grammar School for Girls, Bebington
7 Lancaster Royal Grammar School
8 Sale Grammar School
9 West Kirby Grammar School
10 St Ambrose College, Altrincham
11 The King David High School, Manchester
12 Urmston Grammar School, Manchester
13 Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
14 Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School
15 Cheadle Hulme High School
16 Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby
17 The Fallibroome Academy, Macclesfield
18 Stretford Grammar School, Manchester
19 Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith
20 Bishop Heber High School, Malpas

Top state secondary schools North west / Best independent secondary schools North west 2022

1 Withington Girls’ School, Manchester
2 The Manchester Grammar School
3 Manchester High School for Girls
4 The King’s School, Chester
5 The Queen’s School, Chester
6 The Grange School, Northwich
7 Bolton School Girls’ Division
8 Cheadle Hulme School
9 Windermere School
10 Stockport Grammar School
11 Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
12 Bolton School Boys’ Division Senior School
13 Birkenhead School
14 The King’s School in Macclesfield
15 Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Liverpool
16 King William’s College, Isle of Man
17 Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, Liverpool
18 Alderley Edge School for Girls
19 Stonyhurst College, Clitheroe
20 Oldham Hulme Grammar School


Looking for top private schools in the north?

  • Firstly, best schools in the north and best northern private schools.
  • Secondly, top north private schools and best northern independent schools.
  • And also, the best secondary schools in the north and outstanding private schools in the north.
  • Plus, the best independent north schools and north school league tables.
  • Finally, best northern private school league tables and the best secondary schools in the north.

Best schools North West 2021

Features of the best schools North West 2021 listed below.

  • A strong showing for primary schools in the north west in this year’s Parent Power rankings.
  • Took 81 / 500 of the Sunday Times places.
  • Made up of 50 state secondary schools and 31 independents from the north west.

Greater Manchester is the epicentre of educational excellence in the region and is home to both of our North west Schools of the Decade.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

  • Sunday Times’ North west State Secondary School of the Decade title.
  • Best results among state schools in the region, with 91% of A-levels gaining A*-B grades in 2019.
  • Only Withington Girls’ School, our North west Independent Secondary School of the Decade, can top that (93.3%) — but it is a tight race.
  • A National Teaching School, the girls’ grammar is part of the Bright Futures Educational Trust, a multi-academy trust with schools across the region. Its members share expertise.
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls is one of seven selective grammar schools in Trafford.
  • Two other grammar school groups compete for honours in the north west: the Wirral and Liverpool group of seven schools, and five in Lancashire and Cumbria.
  • Just four grammar schools in the region achieved better results in 2019 than the Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and Sixth Form College, in Blackburn.
  • Winner of our North west State Secondary School of the Year title last year, it ranked 37th in the UK on its first appearance in our rankings.
  • No comprehensive school in the country secured better results, with 84.2% of A-levels graded A*-B.
  • Founded in 1984 as an independent school, the college moved into the state sector 21 years later.
  • The Muslim-faith school of more than 800 girls welcomes students of all faiths and none.

Just behind it in the regional rankings of comprehensive schools comes King David High School, in Manchester. Boys and girls at this Jewish faith school do well at A-level (72.3% A*-B last year) and achieve exceptional GCSE results for a mixed ability intake. It was 16th in the country in this sector with 45.7% of GCSEs graded 9-7 (A*/A).

Looking for top north secondary schools?

Withington Girls’ School

  • Similar dominance to Altrincham Grammar among the region’s state schools.
  • Unbroken run at the top of the North west rankings despite competition from the boys of Manchester Grammar.
  • 1 / 6 girls receive a bursary after a significant expansion in school numbers.
  • About ÂŁ775,000 is being spent this year on remission of senior school fees of between ÂŁ4,211 and ÂŁ4,333 per term.
  • Withington Girls’ offers assistance to some families in the “squeezed middle” with household incomes as high as ÂŁ70,000 a year.
  • Although most receiving financial support have earnings of ÂŁ50,000 or below.


The Manchester Grammar School

  • Offers a comparable education for boys.
  • Another former winner of our North west Independent Secondary School of the Year award.
  • Combines a strong academic and sporting tradition.
  • More than 200 of its 1,500 boys receive full or partial remission of fees through a generous bursary scheme. Those whose household income is less than ÂŁ29,500 pay nothing.

There are thriving independent schools beyond the Manchester conurbation, notably the King’s School and Queen’s School in Chester, which consistently achieve A*-B A-level percentages in the mid-80s.

Windermere School, in Cumbria, which ranks ninth among the northwest independents, won our UK International Baccalaureate School of the Year award in 2017. Offering the broader-based IB qualification to sixth-formers, the small school of 360 children offers an outstanding education in idyllic surroundings at the heart of the Lake District, away from the bustle of city life.

Top state secondary schools North west 2021

  1. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
  2. Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
  3. The Blue Coat School, Liverpool
  4. Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School
  5. Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School, Blackburn
  6. Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham
  7. Lancaster Royal Grammar School
  8. West Kirby Grammar School
  9. Sale Grammar School
  10. Wirral Grammar School for Girls, Bebington
  11. The King David High School, Manchester
  12. Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
  13. St Ambrose College, Altrincham
  14. Cheadle Hulme High School, Stockport
  15. Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School
  16. The Fallibroome Academy, Macclesfield
  17. Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby
  18. St Anselm’s College, Birkenhead
  19. Bishop Heber High School, Malpas
  20. Keswick School

class room empty desks best north-west Schools 2021

Top independent secondary schools North west 2021

  1. Withington Girls’ School, Manchester
  2. The Manchester Grammar School
  3. Manchester High School for Girls
  4. The King’s School, Chester
  5. The Grange School, Northwich
  6. Bolton School Girls’ Division
  7. The Queen’s School, Chester
  8. Cheadle Hulme School
  9. Windermere School
  10. Stockport Grammar School
  11. Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
  12. Bolton School Boys’ Division
  13. The King’s School, Macclesfield
  14. Lime House School, Carlisle
  15. Birkenhead School, Wirral
  16. Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Liverpool
  17. Alderley Edge School for Girls, Alderley Edge
  18. King William’s College, Isle of Man
  19. Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, Liverpool
  20. Bury Grammar School


Interpreting Northern school league tables

How do I interpret Sunday Times’ school league tables?

  1. Search online for the latest Guardian, Times and Telegraph websites.
  2. It’s worth paying for at least one month’s subscription so you can filter published league tables for your local schools shortlist.
  3. You can pull out those schools for which you are in the catchment area.
  4. Then compare your chosen school group on those criteria which are most important to you.
  5. You need to conduct your own analysis to determine which school best suits your child’s specific needs.