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  • Drayton Manor High School
    Drayton Bridge Road
    W7 1EU
  • Head: Ms Lisa Mills
  • T 020 8357 1900
  • F 020 8566 1901
  • E adminoffice@drayt…
  • W www.draytonman…
  • A state school for boys and girls aged from 11 to 19.
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Ealing
  • Pupils: 1,512; sixth formers: 324
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Outstanding 1
      • 16-19 study programmes Outstanding 1
      • Outcomes for children and learners Outstanding 1
      • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Outstanding 1
      • Personal development, behaviour and welfare Good 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Outstanding 1
    • 1 Full inspection 28th November 2023
  • Previous Ofsted grade: Outstanding on 24th May 2012
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

 Beautiful central piazza, complete with immaculate topiary and a total absence of grime or litter make for stunning premises. Vivienne Westwood’s striking Union Jack on a main corridor adds a dramatic punch to what could otherwise feel like a National Trust property. Pupils were highly focused in the lessons we observed, whether being tested on GCSE biology modules or role-playing gritty scenarios in drama group. Head delights in the fact that ‘they enjoy being challenged. They can listen for long periods of time. They can express their opinions with confidence’...


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What the school says...

Drayton Manor High School in West London is a handsome, red-brick building built in the 1930s on the site of Hanwell Park House, land that had been previously owned by the then local historian, Sir Montague Sharpe.

The school first opened as a grammar school, then becoming a comprehensive in 1973, grant-maintained in 1992 and a Foundation School in 1998. In 2004 the schools Head, Sir Pritpal Singh (knighted in 2005 in the Queens birthday Honours for services to education) was recognised as the Headteacher of the Year for London and the school was named in the Chief Inspectors Report to Parliament as an outstanding school. The last OFSTED report described Sir Pritpal as having a strong, clear vision and someone who had successfully established an outstanding ethos in the school.

The school received academy status in August 2011 and today provides an education for almost 1,600 students aged 11 -19. It prides itself on its high academic standards and excellence across the board.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2020, Lisa Mills. She started her teaching career at Drayton Manor having read French and German at York, then a stint teaching in Japan. Worked her way through the ranks, holding positions including head of sixth form and member of the senior leadership team. Spent time as deputy head in another inner London school while studying for a master’s degree in educational leadership at UCL before being appointed to take the reins here.


Non-selective. Successful court case means that children gain a place at Drayton Manor if it is the nearest school to their home. If you live a mile from the school but it remains the nearest school to home, then you will have priority over children who live half a mile away but have other schools from which to choose. School explains, ‘Roughly speaking unless you live 0.8 miles away or less, you won’t get a place.’ Massively oversubscribed, with roughly six applicants per place. Waiting list for all years. Generally, a grade 6 or 7 is needed at GCSE to pursue the subject in the sixth form, whether existing pupil or from outside. Fifty or more pupils join in year 12, to replace those who leave after GCSEs (they usually head for vocational courses elsewhere or employment).


Just over half leave after GCSEs. Popular universities include City, Westminster, Queen Mary, Kingston, Royal Holloway, Reading, SOAS, Surrey and King’s College London. Plus Birmingham, Exeter, Leeds, Kent, Liverpool, Manchester, LSE, Coventry, Warwick and Nottingham. Subjects range from international politics to mechanical engineering. Interview practice for those applying to Oxbridge or for medicine, as well as shared careers workshops at Highgate School. Oxbridge society prepares pupils for applications, including test practice. School says pupils don’t always know what they are capable of so encourages those who would never have considered university to believe that they can achieve it - ‘This is a seven-year programme. You can’t just turn it on in year 12. Students need to learn how to crack the code. They need to learn not to be intimidated by institutions.’ Three to Oxbridge in 2023, and four medics.

Latest results

In 2023, 30 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 81 per cent 9-4 in both English and maths. At A level, 29 per cent A*/A (56 per cent A*-B). In 2019 (the last pre-pandemic results), 30 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 59 per cent 9-5 in both English and maths. At A level, 15 per cent A*/A at A level (36 per cent A*-B).

Teaching and learning

Has received awards for exceptional GCSE results and letter of congratulation on EBacc results received from minister of state for school standards.

Thirty subjects offered at A level, including media studies, sociology and psychology. Popular A levels currently maths, biology, chemistry and history. Government and politics, as well as history, recognised nationally as superb departments. BTEC qualification also offered in creative media and applied general qualifications in business. Wide choice of GCSE subjects including computing and economics.

Pupils can take between five and 12 GCSEs. Modern languages offered include Spanish, French and German, though no Mandarin nor Russian. One parent we spoke to wished that her daughter could have taken two modern languages at GCSE but not possible. On average, 35 pupils learn Latin in first year with around 20 pupils taking it for GCSE in year 10. ‘The students love it; the parents love it and it adds something to the character of the school. It attracts good, interesting staff and it adds an extra dimension,’ says school.

Average class size is 23, maximum 31. Five one-hour lessons a day. School recognises the benefits of setting by ability - English and maths from year 7 and science, French and Spanish from year 8. School told us, ‘Differentiation is a strength – all our pupils are pushed, whether very able academically or not.’ Awarded ‘outstanding’ in last Ofsted inspection.

EPQ is embraced here, with a broad range of subjects chosen by pupils ranging from bovine TB to Jane Austen. About one third of the year end up taking it. School encourages the pupils to take it on if manageable: ‘It’s a conversation we have with the student and family.’ Pupils were highly focused in the lessons we observed, whether being tested on GCSE biology modules or role-playing gritty scenarios in drama group. School delights in the fact that ‘they enjoy being challenged. They can listen for long periods of time. They can express their opinions with confidence.’

School stretches the very brightest sparks. Gifted and talented pupils might be given extra lessons or be sent off on a trip. One mother we spoke to commented that her clever son ‘was very well supported and extended throughout’.

Homework club in library for those who struggle to concentrate at home. The pupils we spoke to did not find amount of homework too onerous, with one even shyly confessing that she enjoys it. Booster revision sessions laid on for A level and GCSE pupils after school, in holidays and at weekends, so no-one is left to flounder in exam season.

Teachers are ambitious for their pupils and are rated highly by the parents. ‘You really feel at parents’ evenings that the teachers know your child inside out.’ Pupils feel most teachers are ‘easy to talk to’. Over 20 members of staff have been at school for more than a decade but there is a healthy balance with plenty of youthful faces too. School admits that recruitment of excellent staff ‘can be challenging with teacher shortages’ and it can be hard when a head of a faculty leaves but ‘we are like a gyroscope. It takes a lot to knock us off our stride.’

Learning support and SEN

Over 300 pupils on the SEND register, well above the national average. School offers excellent provision for those with milder end of learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism and those with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Staff are trained to deal with attachment and anxiety disorders as well as school phobias. Baseline assessment on arrival. Beautifully designed new inclusion centre. ‘Probably the best facilities in the school for the students who need the most support,’ explains school. ‘They all arrive early as they love coming to this area.’ Alternative curriculum in phonics, literacy and numeracy offered to those that need specialist support in the first few years. EAL pupils also withdrawn from class for extra help if needed.

The arts and extracurricular

The arts faculty is made up of art and design, drama, music and media subjects. Numerous choirs. Concerts galore, both formal and informal. Lots of opportunities to take part in musical events, from participating in national orchestra days to hearing musicians at the Albert Hall. Currently 150 students learn an instrument. Music department has undergone recent refurbishment. Excellent new art, design and technology studios too. Though some impressive work on show, including sensational portfolios, art is not a popular A level. School takes part in Shakespeare Schools Festival. Annual summer showcase is highlight of school year. ‘The shows are sensational,’ according to one parent.

Sixth form enrichment options include chess, debating and trampoline sessions. Pupils participate in National Citizen Service and fundraisers for children’s charities. School promotes learning outside the classroom including ski and snowboard trips to Maine, homestay visits in Germany and France, and trips to Belgium.


Wide array of sport offered from cricket to gymnastics and dance. Some pupils perform at national level as well as county level. School is regular winner of cups and tournaments across borough and new display cabinets are being built to house the abundant silverware. Netball, rugby and football particularly impressive. Excellent facilities. Everyone is encouraged to participate at some level, whether house dodgeball or more giddy heights.

Ethos and heritage

Opened as a grammar school in 1930, before becoming a comprehensive in 1973 and an academy in 2011. Still feels like a grammar school, with its stained-glass coats of arms in the library and its Latin motto Nec Aspera Terrent, meaning 'hardships do not deter us'. Sums up ethos of school.

Current head is only the sixth in school’s history and many of the buildings are named after her well-loved predecessors. Yellowing old school photos adorn the corridor, reflecting the changes in its history from genteel 1930s arrangements to hippy groupings from the 1970s.

An £8 million building programme, including a new humanities faculty, outstanding new library and refurbished science labs, has transformed the school. Beautiful central piazza, complete with immaculate topiary and a total absence of grime or litter make for stunning premises. Vivienne Westwood’s striking Union Jack on a main corridor adds a dramatic punch to what could otherwise feel like a National Trust property.

Pupil successes are celebrated, whether at congratulatory breakfasts, coffees, lunches or a year 13 boat trip to Craven Cottage. Prizes awarded in all year groups for effort and progress, as well as for humour and good character, and for courage.

Old Draytonians include footballer Peter Crouch, BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed and Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Michael Fox.

Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline

Each year comprises 240 pupils, organised into nine tutor groups. Each pupil sees their tutor every day. ‘I love my tutor,’ smiled one boy. When head meets with heads of year, she expects to be told the key things that are going on in each year group. Has finger on the pulse, as have her deputies, we were told.

Discipline is important. Schools keeps rules to a minimum but expects them to be obeyed. Only sixth formers are allowed mobile phones and punishments for others in possession of them are no-nonsense. Third time caught with a mobile phone counts as defiance and can be met with an exclusion. ‘Even for sixth formers, if they are caught doing anything iffy then the sanctions kick in. They respect that,’ explains school. Strong policies in place regarding social media. ‘Our values are clear on social media – it all comes down to good manners.’ At risk of permanent exclusion for possession of drugs and offensive weapons. Four or five permanent exclusions annually. One mother summed it up: ‘The kids respond to the discipline. There is not much wriggle room!’ Another parent said, ‘The children know where they stand. They know the consequences for bad behaviour and the school carries through with these. No idle threats at Drayton.’ One mother commented that some boys mess around in class but that generally there is zero tolerance of larking about. School thinks it can be a relief for the pupils to have to comply with strict rules: ‘They can blame us. It allows them to perform at a high level.’ Over 95 per cent attendance rate.

A caring ethos is at the heart of the school. ‘We insist on high standards. Being courteous and considerate comes before academic prowess. How we treat other people is the number one priority. That is our bedrock. It’s the Drayton Manor way.’ This sense of decency is expected not only in the classroom but between lessons, at break time and even at the bus stop. ‘The whole continuum from home to school is important for us. It does not end at 3.30pm. They need to learn that this is their life now.’

School recognises that it can be hard being a teenager. ‘It’s important they know there is more to life than just being popular. The children feel safe here and can develop their own personalities. They can express themselves without being made fun of.’ The pupils in turn say they can trust the staff and feel that if they tell the teachers about any problems, they will make it better. ‘Pastoral care is not just about having the structures in place but trying to work out what it feels like to be one of the students. We think a lot about it,’ says school. One girl said the school had supported her incredibly well through a bereavement and a mother expressed her gratitude for the way Drayton had built up her daughter’s shaky confidence. Very few suffer with depression, anorexia or self-harming.

Ninety-five per cent of food is home-made, including breakfast for early birds from 8am. Chef worked in a Michelin-star restaurant and certainly wowed us with delectable pastries. Lots of options, including halal, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian, though one pupil told us ‘it would be easy to get away with just eating a cookie every day for lunch as no-one checks’.

Pupils and parents

Socially mixed intake, from affluent professional families to the very deprived. Pupils head in from north and west Ealing and Hanwell. One third white British with many different ethnic minority groups. Sixty-five per cent EAL and over 50 different languages spoken at home. Parenting support classes offered. Above average number of pupils on free school meals.

Excellent home–school communication. Head genuinely likes meeting people and enjoys being around at events such as parents’ evenings.

Money matters

Sixth form bursary. School uses its pupil premium to fund learning support, masterclasses, mentoring, Easter revision and some subsidising of school trips. Voluntary contribution of £10 per family per year.

The last word

Pupils we spoke to were thoroughly impressive: modest, polite, caring and articulate, but with a developed sense of fun. An inspiring and exciting school that provides a truly outstanding education.

Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

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