Top 10 Private Schools in England – Ranked by GCSE Results

In GCSE by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Every school always strives to be their best, but how do you know who really is on top? An extremely effective method   

Disclaimer: The information and data in this article has been collected from reliable and trustworthy sources. The majority of the data shown comes from the official UK government, and any other pieces come from each school individual official website. This article is also not definitive and has been purely based on the sources listed below. If you wish to view the aforementioned government page that displays school’s GCSE results, click here. 

Looking specifically at the facts concerned with the percentage of students who achieved a grade 5 or above in GCSE, this article will consider the data and rank the top 10 private schools in England! 

10.  Hydesville Tower School (95% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

First on the list is Hydesville Tower School. Situated 9 miles north-west of Birmingham, this school caters for girls and boys from ages 3-16. 95% of their students achieved a Grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE, an excellent statistic demonstrating this schools ability to produce academic excellence.  

Furthermorein 2020 just over half- 52%- of their pupils achieved a grade 7 or above, compared to 25.5% as the national average. 100% of their students gained 8 or more GCSEs at a grade 4 or above– a phenomenal feat.  

The Department of Education ranked Hydesville Tower School the third highest achieving secondary school in the GCSE League Tables. However, this ranking focuses more heavily on GCSE results statistics, hence why the school is ranked 10th 

Hydesville takes pride in their smaller class sizes, allowing for a more intimate personalised learning experience, however it must be taken into consideration that only 19 students were in Year 11 that year. This means that achieving a high statistic is less demanding than it would be for a larger class, yet Hydesville Tower School is still an academically elite and exceptional school, nonetheless. 

9. OneSchool Global UK – Biggleswade Campus (96% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

OneSchool Global UK- Biggleswade Campus is an independent school in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, in the south of England. As you may have noticed, this school has a rather unusual and unique name- the reason for this is because this school is a part of an educational organisation called OneSchool Global, whose primary aim is to make education international. So far, there are 126 campuses over 20 countries, and the Biggleswade Campus is one of the 23 in the UK 

This school achieved an excellent 96% when it comes to the percentage of students who achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths. When regarding this statistic alone, it puts this school in a tie with Derby High School, Manchester High School for Girls and Westminster School. The reason it was ranked the lowest of all 4 is due to the Biggleswade Campus having the least number of pupils in the class- 23- because, as mentioned previously, a lower number of students makes obtaining a high percentage an easier feat, however it is still not a simple mountain to conquer, which is why it has earned its spot on this list. 

 Over the past 5 years, the national average that gain over a grade 4 has been 66.1% and 68.8%– this means having a percentage of 96% achieving over a grade 5 is an incredible achievement. 87% of students who attended here entered EBacc- more information here– elucidating that the Biggleswade Campus do encourage students to take on a wide range of subjects and expand their knowledge and learning. 

8. Derby High School (96% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Derby High School, located in Derby, earned its place on this list by 96% of their students achieving a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSEs50 students were in Year 11 at the time, which is why it is one place above OneSchool Global UK- Biggleswade Campus.  

This school has recently become coeducational, meaning both girls and boys are now permitted to study here, as it was previously just a girls school before 2019.  

The Sunday Times placed Derby High School as the top performing school in Derby and the surrounding area in November 2019, a great achievement.  

At GCSE, 47% of their entries achieved grades 8 and 9, and 73% achieved grades 7, 8 and 9. However, government data suggests that students at the school are perhaps encouraged to study subjects that are outside of what is usually recommended, as the data states that 0% of students at Derby High School in 2019 were eligible to be entered for an EBacc. This should not necessarily put this school in a bad light, however, as this school may excel in other areas, and the students who attend are perhaps encouraged and would prefer to study these subjects instead. 

7. Manchester High School for Girls (96% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Manchester High School for Girls is located in the city of Manchester. As the title suggests conspicuously, this school is an all-girls school. Again, 96% of their students achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths out of a total of 101 students, earning them the seventh place spot. On their website, they state that 73.4% of all GCSE grades in 2019 were above a grade 7– a remarkable feat.  

76% of their students qualified for an EBacc, displaying that they offer a wide range of subjects and encourage students to broaden their horizons when it comes to education and topics. Their attainment 8 score is high, at 73.2, further consolidating the notion that they encourage their students to take a wide range of topics at GCSE. 

They also state that the vast majority of students choose to stay on at this school to further carry on their education a MHSG Sixth Form, helping us to assume that their students are content and satisfied with the education they are receiving and enjoy their time enough to want to stay on for the next two years of their life.  

MHSG takes great pride in empowering their students, and this shines through in the notable number of alumnae MHSG has produced, which includes the likes of Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, the vice-president of Facebook; Right Reverend Libby Lane, the first female bishop of the Church of England; Kirsten McAslan, 400m athlete Team GB, and many more successful women. If you wish to conduct further research into this, you can find the full official list here. 

6. Westminster School (96% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Ranked 6th on this list is Westminster School, located in the centre of England’s capital city- London. In close proximity to notorious landmarks such as Big Ben, Westminster Palace and Buckingham Palace, it is surrounded by historic architecture and traditional buildings, providing students with the unique experience to learn more about England’s past. The building itself is ancient and was established in around the fourteenth century.  

Westminster School earned its place on this list for their outstanding performance in GCSEs – 96% of their students achieved a grade 5 or higher in English or Maths, a fabulous achievement. When looking at specific subjects, you can see they produced outstanding resultsIn GCSE Classical Greek, 100% of their students achieved a grade 9; GCSE Art also provided the same statistic, with 100% of their students achieving a 9. In GCSE Mathematics in 2016, out of a total of 120 students, 106 of those achieved a 9- the remaining 14 achieved 8s. They also provided data for GCSE Chinese and GCSE Astronomy; these subjects are not particularly well-known and provides us with evidence of their broad and extensive curriculum.  

32 of their students attended Oxford University after finishing their studies there- 39 went to Cambridge. Some even crossed the Atlantic and attended the prestigious Ivy League Schools in the USA such as Harvard and Yale– these universities are very well-renowned and are considered some of the best in the world by University Rankings Leagues.  

5. The Harrodian School (97% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

4th Place goes to The Harrodian School. Situated in West-London, 97% of a total 95 students gained a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE80% of their students qualified for an EBacc, implying to us that they encourage students to pick a wide range of key subjects to consolidate and improve their learning experience. Their progress 8 score is 75.3– an excellent score. We can assume from this that The Harrodian School do not only teach a wide range of subjects- but they teach them with exceptional quality, too, which is essential for pupils to succeed.  

From looking at the provided GCSE results table on their website from 2020, you can see that they provide ample subjects for students to choose from. They also perform well in each, as you can see that the majority of students attained grades 7 and upwards 

4. Highgate School (97% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Highgate School, located just north of the centre of London, is often regarded as one of the top independent schools in the country.  

It has been awarded many prizes in the past; for example, the Sunday Times named them the ‘London Independent Secondary School of the Decade’, TES (a well-known platform which provides teachers with lesson resources) named them ‘Independent School of the Year’. The reason this school places 5th on the list, however, is because this ranking focuses mainly on the percentage of students who achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE.  

Highgate School acquired a percentage of 97% out of 167 students. In 2019, an impressive 48% of their students achieved a grade 9– the top grade. 90% achieved a 7, 8 or 9- 74% a grade 8 or 9. These top grades provide a very valid explanation to why this school is highly regarded among all independent schools in England. 

When looking at individual subjects scores and grades, it becomes clear that Highgate School offers a very wide range of subjects- and succeeds in them all, too. However, similarly to Derby High School, 0% of their students qualified for an EBacc. 

3. Christian Fellowship School (100% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

We have now reached the top three. In third place, the Christian Fellowship School. As the name suggests, this school is a religious school who follow the Christian faith. They are coeducational and are based in the city of Liverpool.  

In 2019 GCSEs, their school managed to gain a 100% mark when referencing the number of students who gained a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE– a fantastic achievement. However, this school also had only a total of 8 students in Year 11 at the time. 88% of their students qualified for an EBaccwhich is the highest score on this listTheir attainment 8 score is 69.8– a relatively high score, elucidating to us that the quality of education there is good.  

In 2019, Christian Fellowship School underwent an Ofsted inspection, and the result of this was that the school was given ‘Good’You can acquire more information on Ofsted rankings here. They also received an ‘Outstanding’ for personal development, behaviour and welfare. 

2. Al-Burhan Grammar School (100% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Al-Burhan Grammar School, located in Birmingham, caters for girls ages 4-16. It aims to teach girls in an Islamic environment, and to educate its students on Islamic culture by teaching subjects such as Arabic and Islamic Studies.  

They too, achieved 100% when it comes to how many of their students got a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE. They consistently achieve ‘Outstanding’ as their Ofsted result, and have never failed to uphold this title. 60% of their students qualified for EBacc, and their attainment 8 score is 76.9. 

All of these fantastic scores provide an abundant amount of evidence that this school excels in all areas, whether you focus on education, behaviour, resources available etc., which is why they are ranked so highly on this list. 

1. Brighton College (100% Achieved Grade 5 or Above)

Finally, in first place is Brighton College! Brighton College is an independent school in, as the name suggests, Brighton. They have won prestigious awards in the past, such as being named School of the Decade by the Sunday Times 

Their GCSE results have been phenomenal in the past, and continue to be, and they soar above and beyond many independent schools in England. 100% out of a total of 199 pupils achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths GCSE! The large number of students in the Year 11 class made this statistic much harder to achieve, however Brighton College did not fail to provide, earning them the top spot on this list. 94.5% of their GCSE grades were grades 7 and above!  

Their vast GCSE results table displays the wide range of subjects available to students, and also shows that top results are very common- in every single subject, a minimum of 15% of their students gained a grade 9. Their attainment 8 score was 82.6, the highest on this list, which supports the aforementioned point– they teach a wide range of subjects and do exceptionally well in all of them. 

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