Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston, with only a few grammar schools.
A word of warning: not all selective grammar schools have 'grammar' in their name. Bournemouth School and Dr Challoner's High School are just two examples. Likewise, many schools with grammar in their name are actually fee-paying independent schools (Bradford Grammar School and Bristol Grammar School for example).
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Grammar Schools further reading
State grammar schools are permitted to select pupils by ability. Children are usually tested in the final year of primary school (aged 10/11), by an exam commonly known as the 11+. A few schools test for entry at 13+, and many re-open their books at 16+. Some grammar schools now give preference to qualifying children on Pupil Premium.
The term grammar school was coined in medieval times, but modern-day state grammar schools came into being as a result of the 1944 Education Act; this made provision for a tripartite system of education, open to all.
We examined the value-added from KS2 to GCSE for 2015 to see which state selective grammar schools added the most value to their offspring. A note of caution - the more highly selective a grammar school, the less scope there will be to add value.
Grammar schools continue to divide opinion. Supporters believe a grammar school education gives all children, regardless of social class, a passport to a good education and future. Detractors point out that grammar schools take very few pupils entitled to free school meals, and denounce them as elitist, divisive and damaging to the moral and esteem of children who feel themselves to be failures at the age of 11.
State grammar schools are located in the following local authorities:
Grammar schools in London:
- London Borough of Barnet
- London Borough of Bexley
- London Borough of Bromley
- London Borough of Enfield
- Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames Council