Bucks managed to hold on to its grammars in the great cull of the 1970s, a source of delight or misfortune, depending on which side of the ideological fence you sit. Note that each grammar has its own feel and that results, although all solid, do vary. For non-selective secondary schools, do even more digging – some are a lot better than others.
Grammar schools near Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross
There are two girls-only grammars here (although for boys you’ll also be in catchment for Dr Challoner’s Grammar School with its co-ed sixth form, RGS, JHGS and, in some cases, co-ed Chesham Grammar). Beaconsfield High School (‘Beccy High’) soars above the local competition in the league tables, yet still feels friendly and even, dare we say, relatively relaxed. For most parents, it’s a toss up between this less edgy, more creative grammar and nearby Dr Challoner’s High School in Little Chalfont, which gets even more dazzling results and typically churns out more sassy girls, many of whom join their male friends at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School for A levels. ‘If you are not a self-starter or naturally curious, I think you could feel uncomfortable here,’ one parent told us.
Secondary schools near Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross
The Chalfonts Community College has a reasonable reputation and very successful sixth form. But it’s twice the size of the other obvious contender, The Beaconsfield School (‘Beccy Seccy’) something to consider if your child lacks confidence in large crowds. The latter draws the shorter straw with sports facilities, but parents say teaching and school comms have improved dramatically in recent years.
Although not in Bucks, St Clement Danes School in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, is only one tube stop away from Little Chalfont. Be warned, catchment is small and it’s hugely oversubscribed, but it is semi-selective so if your child excels at music or academic ability, it may be worth a punt if you live outside the catchment.
Grammar schools near Amersham and Chesham
For boys (and girls in sixth form), Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham is a top choice for motivated youngsters and their aspirational parents. ‘Think ahead, buy near the school and get that 11+ super tutor booked,’ advises our reviewer.
The main points of difference with Chesham Grammar School are the co-ed factor and the more nurturing, less pressurised vibe. ‘I spoke to some sixth formers at the open day who were so engaged, questioning and insightful – that was it for me,’ said a parent.
Secondary schools near Amersham and Chesham
Non-selective Amersham School with its academic and pastoral focus is (and this wasn’t always the case) good. It is more sought after than Chiltern Hills Academy in Chesham ‘due to the reputation of the pupils outside the school,’ as one parent put it.
Grammar schools near Marlow
The catchment area for co-ed Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School is relatively small. While once considered an elitist, academic hothouse, parents say this is no longer true. Nevertheless, results are well above average across all subjects, with STEM on the up and up.
Bright boys are served well at Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe where it’s worth considering boarding if a day place looks unlikely and candidate has a high 11+ score. Considered ‘the sporty one’ of the grammars, local perception is of a hotbed of rugger boys, but there are 14 other competitive sports, including a serious rowing team, and lots of other extracurricular.
For an arguably less macho environment, there’s always John Hampden Grammar School, also in High Wycombe. Less shiny and with a wider catchment than other boys’ grammars, it also has a more diverse demographic and one of the top value-added scores in the country. Calm and un-macho, with a real community feel.
There’s also Burnham Grammar School – a friendly boys’ grammar that’s big on stretch and challenge, co-curricular and volunteering. Plus the very high performing Wycombe High School, which was the first girls’ grammar in Bucks. Parents praise quality of teaching, behaviour of students and pastoral care.
Note that if you live in some parts of Marlow, you are also in catchment for Wycombe High.
Secondary schools near Marlow
Grammar schools in North Buckinghamshire
Boys-only Aylesbury Grammar School is a grammar in its purest form - purposeful, determined and socially diverse. The boys we met were aware of their privileged situation in a way that many grammar pupils from more affluent catchments just aren’t. Rugby rules (‘massive’, say boys), but music isn’t a poor relation and is a popular subject at GCSE and A level, along with DT, art and drama.
The only girls’ grammar in north Bucks is Aylesbury High School. Parents say it lives and breathes the growth mindset concept, and the fact that the school has training school status reflects commitment to teachers’ CPD.
For co-ed, there’s Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School, which excels on the sports fields and offers everything from archery to cheerleading besides. Grades, while strong, don’t quite hit the dizzy heights of some of the other Bucks grammars. The same cannot be said of Royal Latin School in Buckingham, which is the oldest school in Bucks.
Secondary schools in North Buckinghamshire
Waddesdon Church of England School, near Aylesbury, is small for a comp and highly thought of, but as a result has a small catchment. Aylesbury Vale Academy is a popular all-through option. The Cottesloe School, near Wing, and The Misbourne School, Great Missenden, shine on the academic front.
State secondary schools for children with special educational needs in Buckinghamshire
SEND education options and admissions are covered on the Buckinghamshire County Council website Stony Dean School in Amersham is an excellent large school for severe learning difficulties, autism and MLD, while Furze Down School in Buckingham is a specialist all-through (2-19) mentioned in the primary school section.
The Misbourne School is a mainstream school with an SEN unit, although pupils with SEN have been found not to make as much progress as others. The Chalfonts Community College has an above average number of pupils with EHCPs, but lower than usual for those needing lower level support for SEN. Parents tell us Beaconsfield High School’s SEN provision is a world away from what it was five years ago, and going from strength to strength.