Which are the best Northern Ireland schools near me for 2024 entry?

Looking for the best Northern Ireland schools near you?

Top performing Northern Ireland schools

COMPARE Northern Ireland high school schools’ performance:

Northern Ireland schools League Table 2024

Previous Northern Ireland school ranking is shown in italics.

1. Lumen Christi College, Londonderry (17=)
2. Friends’ School Lisburn (21=)
3. Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast (24)
4. St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt (26)
5. St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, Belfast (27)
6. Strathearn School, Belfast (31)
7. Sullivan Upper School, Holywood (32)
8. St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena (39)
9. Banbridge Academy (40)
10. Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt (42)
11. Belfast Royal Academy (60)
12. Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Belfast (68)
13. Dalriada School, Ballymoney (69)
14. Ballymena Academy (73=)
15. Omagh Academy (78)
16. Ballyclare High School (83=)
17. Royal School Armagh (83=)
18. The Wallace High School, Lisburn (93)
19. Methodist College Belfast (102)
20. Enniskillen Royal Grammar School (previously Portora Royal School) (103)


Which Northern Ireland school best suits your child’s needs? 

Rob WilliamsAsk ROB your Northern Ireland education questions by emailing passedpapers@gmail.com

An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests.
Rob has worked for the school entrance test publishers ISEB, Hodder and GL Assessment.

How do I interpret the Top 2024 Northern Ireland schools’ league tables?

The Northern Ireland school league table rankings are based on the latest exam results.

These are usually the previous independent school year group’s GCSE exam results and A-Level exam results.


Northern Ireland’s Ofsted Reports

What are Ofsted reports?

  • Well firstly these are something that you must check for each independent school of interest.
  • Each Ofsted report is an analysis of that school’s teachers’ professional competence
  • Plus, how well performance standards have been met across the independent school. There are three possible outcomes: under-achieving; achieving; or outstanding.

Northern Ireland’s education system is the envy of mainland Britain. Its 23 selective grammars in our rankings account for one in eight of the leading schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its dominance could be even greater, as several schools elect not to share their results.

2024 Northern Ireland league table

dark hedges best northern Ireland schools 2021


2023 Best state secondary schools Northern Ireland league table

1 Lumen Christi College, Londonderry
2 Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock
3 Friends’ School Lisburn
4 Strathearn School, Belfast
5 Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast
6 Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Belfast
7 Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
8 Dalriada School, Ballymena
9 Methodist College Belfast
10 Banbridge Academy
11 The Wallace High School, Lisburn
12 Sullivan Upper School, Holywood
13 Regent House School, Newtownards
14 Antrim Grammar School
15 Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
16 Portadown College
17 Omagh Academy
18 Royal School Dungannon
19 Lurgan College, Craigavon


How to apply for your Northern Ireland secondary school places

  • Depending on your local authority you can submit between three and six school preferences; with Northern Ireland secondary school places allocated by the school’s governing body, an academy trust or the local authority.
  • Each school will have its own admissions criteria, but within a national framework.
  • Hence on Northern Ireland’s secondary school offer day Northern Ireland parents will receive only one secondary school offer.


Best schools Northern Ireland league table

Rainey Endowed School

Rainey Endowed School was the 2021 Northern Ireland Secondary School of the Decade.


rope bridge best northern ireland schools 2021

Top state secondary schools in Northern Ireland 

1 Firstly, Lumen Christi College, Londonderry
2 Secondly, Strathearn School, Belfast
3 Thirdly, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock
4 Fourthly, St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, Belfast
5 And then next, Ballyclare High School
6 Plus also, Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
7 Rathmore Grammar School, Belfast
8 Friends’ School Lisburn
9 Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Belfast
10 Ballymena Academy
11 Dalriada School, Ballymena
12 Banbridge Academy
13 Methodist College Belfast
14 Sullivan Upper School, Holywood
15 The Wallace High School, Lisburn
16 Portadown College
17 Antrim Grammar School
18 Enniskillen Royal Grammar School
19 Lurgan College, Craigavon
20 Omagh Academy


St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls

This Northern Ireland school was ranked fourth in 2021. Located on the Falls Road, the front line during the Troubles, the Catholic school regularly achieves remarkable results that compare with the best in the UK, although it recruits from a wider ability range than most grammars and about a quarter of girls on its roll qualify for free school meals.


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