Children are missing out on the most popular grammar schools. There’s been many oversubscribed popular grammar schools, especially in big cities. However, the situation varies considerably across the UK. We look at some of the areas where demand is outstripping supply.
* * * CONTENT UPDATED APRIL 2021 * * *
We expect this feature will help you to learn more about the most popular grammar schools.
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Getting your child into their chosen school is getting more difficult than ever. According to figures from the Department for Education, 82.1% of secondary school applicants in England got a place at their first choice in 2018 – a drop from the previous year.
However, the figures for oversubscribed schools vary considerably across different parts of the country.
Take London. Figures show that almost half of pupils missed out on their first choice of secondary school in parts of the capital for the September 2018 intake.
Children in Hammersmith and Fulham had the smallest chance of getting into their preferred school. In this borough, just 51% were allocated their first choice.
And in Kensington and Chelsea, the City of London and Lambeth 55% or less got into their favoured school.
The reason? This year an extra 3,908 children applied for secondary school places in London, bringing the total to 92,509. And while nationally 83.5% of pupils were granted their first choice, in London that figure was just 66%.
Not just the Top Grammar Schools in London
Not that London is the only city with oversubscribed schools. The picture in other big cities such as Birmingham is broadly similar. Just 19 per cent of those who put King Edward VI Handsworth Grammar School for Boys as their first choice secondary secured a place for this September.
The school had 1.4 first preference applications for each of its 143 places – 204 in total. And of those who put the school as their first pick, only 38 were successful.
Other Birmingham grammar schools were also popular with King Edward’s Five Ways the second most oversubscribed school in the city with just 27% of those who put it as a first preference for getting a place. There were 2.5 first preferences for the school, a total of 457, for each of its 181 places offered.
But it’s not the same everywhere. For example in Bradford and the East Riding of Yorkshire more than 96% got into their first choice school, well above the national average, while in Northumberland 98% were successful.
The places with the highest rate of first choice secondary school offers are:
- Northumberland – 98.1%
- East Riding of Yorkshire – 96.7%
- Bedford – 96.4%
The places with the lowest rate of first choice secondary school offers are:
- Hammersmith & Fulham – 51.4%
- Kensington and Chelsea – 54.3%
- Lambeth – 55.2%
Increasing Grammar school demand
What is certainly true is that demand for Grammar schools is higher than ever in areas of England where they are still prevalent (there are 163 Grammar Schools in England, compared to around 3000 state secondary schools). That’s according to a BBC Grammar School survey.
“Right across the country grammar schools are oversubscribed,” Philip Bosworth, Treasurer of The National Grammar Schools Association, recently told The Telegraph. “Parents are exercising their choice for their children to sit the 11-plus.”
Most grammar school places for 20 years
The BBC’s analysis shows that while there 110,600 grammar school pupils, aged 11 to 15, in 2010 the number increased to 118,200 by 2017 (the figures do not include burgeoning sixth-form numbers). This rise in the total roll of 7,600 students is equivalent to building 11 averaged-sized grammar schools.
And by 2021, the data suggests, the number of extra places created will be equivalent to 24 new grammar schools compared to eight years ago, including sixth form students.
Ten Most Over-Subscribed Grammar schools
- Stratford Girls Grammar, Warwickshire
- Bourne Grammar, Lincolnshire
- Newport Girls’ High, Telford and Wrekin
- Alcester Grammar, Warwickshire
- The Boston Grammar, Lincs
- Burnham Grammar, Bucks
- The Tiffin Girls, Kingston Upon Thames
- Queen Mary’s Grammar, Walsall
- Colchester County High for Girls, Essex
- Invicta Grammar, Kent
Top grammar schools