Our Which grammar Schools Guide 2022 is designed to help with some of the main school entrance dilemmas that many parents face.
Where are my best local grammar schools?
USE OUR EASY GUIDE to find your closest grammar school from the top UK grammar schools League Table 2022.
Is a Grammar school or private school education better?
- Private Schools: There is a huge range of Independent/private schools spread out over Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Private or independent schools are fee-paying schools.
- Grammar Schools: Grammar schools in England and subsequently in British territories overseas have a long and colourful history as part of a highly rated education system.
Non-Verbal Reasoning 11+ Skills
- Analysing Shapes and Letters,
- Breaking Codes
- Completing Series of Shapes
- Find the Odd One
- Similar shapes and figures
- Words Out
- Word Connections
- Word-Number Codes
- Words with Multiple Meanings
Non-Verbal 11+ Questions Explanation
- Non-verbal skills are often the format, 11 plus students are least familiar with.
- 11 plus non-vions areerbal reasoning test formats are very similar to what you would see in a IQ test.
Grammar school guide
There is no scarcity of excellent schools and knowledge in both Independent and Grammar schools. It is just the preferences of the individuals depending upon their convenience.
The history of grammar school is ancient. It started basically to teach Latin during the 12th to 14th Century.
Later the syllabuses were expanded, and it incorporated other subjects such as English, mathematics, natural sciences, liberal arts, and other European languages. Earlier the grammar schools were for primary education only. However, post the expansion of the courses, it became a secondary /11 plus course.
Where are grammar schools better?
Grammar schools provide equality in terms of level in class. The students can only study here if they clear the entrance test that shows it provides opportunities to the most efficient students. It is observed that the pupils selected from Grammar schools are more proactive and successful.
Parents and students from the lower-income group can access this highly efficient and knowledgeable source of education without being partial to any specific community.
This system provides opportunities to every individual who is eager and capable of studying. It helps them in gaining access to high-quality education systems. Some observe that the culture in Grammar schools is so professional and respectable that the students feel less bullied and thrive towards learning more and more.
Difference between a grammar school and an independent school
Grammar school follows the concept of free public education whereas, independent/private schools have their fee structures designed.
The classes in a grammar school have a huge number of candidates. Managing so many students at a time is a hectic thing to do. Grammar schools are highly selective and have a major focus on the academic achievements of the students.
Things to know before enrolling in a grammar school:
Even if it has hundreds of advantages, it is always advisable to consider the demerits along. The government funds grammar schools.
Some also say that the 11 plus exam is unfair as it builds fear of failure in students from a very early age and affects them badly. They also say that 11 is not the age to take this test as the students remain in the cognitive and learning stage at that interval. It creates a lot of pressure on the students and the parents as the students keep on preparing for this entrance from a very early age.
Proactive measures for grammar schools
Provision to provide free teaching and coaching to students coming from weaker economical sections can be valuable in bringing uniformity and equality among all the sections of the economy. We can do it through free tuition projects. Judging a student on his/her English proficiency and basic mathematics is unfair. The traits of a child can lean more towards art and creativity based on his/her interests.
There have been examples where students have been poor in mathematics but have achieved a lot in their lives. Hence, conducting an entrance with no bar to subjects or other abilities is a good initiative. This way pupils can select the best suitable courses and curriculums as per their interest.
Many researchers have mentioned that if it can delay the selection process a year or two, then it will help the students. When the entrance exam will be conducted for students over the age of 12 & 13, they will get a little more time to develop their interests, understanding, and strengths.
Children develop much faster when grouped by ability. Putting a goal in their head to achieve and thrive is a good initiative. However, it has to be systematic and vigilant. Grammar school is an attractive and persuasive approach towards a better education system. If considered with some improvements, it has magnificent potential.
Grammar school… private school… state school
- Grammar Schools offer a secondary education in a county with selection at 11 (the “11+ exam”). Takes the most academically successful children only.
- Secondary Moderns are for children who were not selected for Grammar Schools
- Comprehensives offering a secondary education in areas without selection. Or in areas where there is still selection but the school was built after the 1976 Education Act.
- Academies were originally intended to have business sponsorship. Or with business lleaders co-operating in the running of schools.
- High schools are a smallish number of secondary state-funded schools choose to call themselves High Schools.
- Community Colleges offer secondary or further education in one establishment. Often found in remote areas with lowish student numbers. Usually comprehensive in principle. A state school with other functions. Some had special units for children excluded from other state schools, and taught in a very different way. I’m not sure if that still happens, it does not at our local one.
- Independant: fee paying school of some sort. May or may not practice selection. Not state funded, but state inspected. There are independent schools for both primary and secondary education. A handful call themselves High schools, and another Academy schools. Tricky things, names.
- Preparatory School are fee paying school intended to prepare children for the Major public schools that admit at 13, rather than 11. A sort of training ground for privilege. Not, at one time, selective most are now.
- Public Schools are secondary, fee-paying schools. These were usually established before the 1945 education act. Some a very long time ago. Usually selective, but with exceptions. Not state funded, but state inspected. Divided (by themselves) into Minor public and Major public.
- Boarding schools are Public schools, although there were state boarding schools for the children of servicemen and diplomats at one time. I think these are pretty much a thing of the past.
- Faith-based variants of the above have been excluded. These are either toally or partially funded by the CofE, Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, or Muslim religions).
- Also excluded are choir schools.
Which school guides – Which school next?
Of course, much depends on where you live. If you live in London or other big cities such as Birmingham or Brighton, finding a Grammar School in your area may be very difficult, if not impossible. Both Wales and Scotland also got rid of all their Grammar Schools some time ago.
However, if you live in Kent, Buckinghamshire or Lincolnshire chances are there’s a good Grammar School nearby. And in Northern Ireland too. Today there are around 163 Grammar Schools in England and a further 67 in Northern Ireland.
For fans of Grammar Schools, there’s some good news too. The Government is proposing a £200 million investment over four years to expand 16 existing Grammar Schools. It promises this will open up much greater access to pupils in more deprived areas.
You can see the full list of the schools that are expanding here.
Putting Grammar Schools first
Obviously, there is one main reason why parents are likely to put a Grammar School first, ahead of a Private School. They’re free! But it’s not the only reason. There are other good reasons why parents might choose a Grammar School rather than a Private School.
Our Which School Guides
Excellent grammar school results
It used to be the case that you needed to send your child private if you wanted them to get the best results. But that’s no longer the case. Some of the best schools in Britain are now in the state sector, according to The Sunday Times Parent Power League 2021.
Boys’ grammar Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet recently topped its state school list followed by girls’ grammar The Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb with Wilson’s School Wallington in Sutton in the third spot.
Undoubtedly, the gap between results in the independent sector and those in the state sector are narrowing at both GCSE and A-Level.
It’s a similar picture at A-Level too with State Schools slowly catching up Private Schools. According to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the proportion of Private Schools achieving A or A* at A-Level fell from 52 per cent in 2010 to 47.9 per cent in 2017.
Our Which School Guides
11+ entry system:
While all Grammar Schools have an 11+ entry system this isn’t true of all Private Schools. Some, including Eton College and Harrow School, do not accept pupils until the age of 13. This is because the vast majority of pupils still come from private Prep School, rather than through the state system. Understandably many parents prefer the idea of their child going to secondary school at 11, rather than 13.
Greater social diversity
Finally, many parents prefer Grammar Schools because generally, they offer a greater level of social diversity compared to Private Schools. Although some children from deprived backgrounds do go to Private Schools on a scholarship or bursary, most are from wealthy backgrounds.
Grammar Schools, on the other hand, do offer a greater level of social diversity – albeit not as much as non-selective state schools.
For parents living in some areas where there aren’t Grammar Schools and where state schools are poor – or perceived to be poor – parents often choose to send their child to a Private School. They believe they will get a much better education in the independent sector than in the state sector.
- Sports facilities:
Undoubtedly sports facilities at Private Schools are usually much better than schools in the state sector. Grounds are usually much much more extensive and better maintained than those of state schools and swimming pools and proper running tracks are commonplace. There are also specialist sports coaches for those who want to pursue a particular sport.
- Musical facilities
As with sport, musical facilities are usually much better at a Private School than at a Grammar School. Many offer a huge range of instruments students can play. They also offer opportunities to play in orchestras and sing in choirs.
Grammar vs. private school results
Earlier we said that the gap between Grammar Schools and Private Schools was narrowing in terms of attainment. This is true. However, there is still quite a big gap. For example, the proportion of Private Schools getting A*s at A-Level is still more than twice the national average.
More subject choice
Although it varies from school to school, generally there is much more subject choice in Private Schools than in Grammar Schools. For example, many Private Schools offer a much broader range of languages (Latin, Greek, Russian and Mandarin are commonplace) as well as excellent facilities for ‘non-traditional’ subjects such as Photography.
Conclusion: Private v Grammar
At the end of the day, it’s largely a personal choice for parents. Every child is different and it’s important they feel comfortable in the school. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Ironically, many Grammar Schools try to model themselves on old fashioned Private Schools with a focus on uniform, discipline and structure whereas some Private Schools have become more relaxed and inclusive of late. Certainly, when it comes to results at GCSE and A-Level the gap between Grammar and Private Schools has narrowed. However, it’s fair to say that Private Schools generally offer much better facilities, if not always necessarily better teaching.