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Top 10 Grammar Schools in London

Tornike Asatiani - Co-founder & COO of Edumentors

Selecting the perfect school is a pivotal decision for families in London, where the educational landscape is rich with possibilities.

Among the myriad of choices, grammar schools stand out for their excellence in preparing students for university and beyond. Known as some of the best schools in London, these institutions offer a robust academic curriculum and foster an environment conducive to learning and personal growth.

Let’s discuss the top 10 grammar schools in London, highlighting their unique qualities and the advantages they offer.

What are Grammar Schools?

Grammar schools are a distinctive type of secondary education in the UK, characterised by their focus on academic achievement and a traditional curriculum.

Grammar schools, emerging in the 16th century, initially focused on teaching Latin, the essential ‘grammar’ of the era. They broke new ground by offering quality education to gifted students from diverse backgrounds, challenging educational privilege.

Over time, their curriculum broadened beyond classical studies, yet they’ve consistently upheld their commitment to academic excellence. Today, these schools stand as a testament to the enduring values of educational rigour and inclusivity, bridging historical traditions with modern academic demands.

Why are Grammar Schools Called Grammar Schools?

The term “grammar school” has historical roots dating back to the 16th century in England. Originally established to educate academically gifted children from all backgrounds, these schools emphasised rigorous study of the ‘grammars’ – the classical languages of Latin and Greek. Over time, the curriculum expanded, but the name ‘grammar school’ continued to symbolise a focus on academic excellence and a broad, challenging curriculum.

How Many Grammar Schools in London?

London is home to a significant number of grammar schools, each with its own unique ethos and approach to education. These schools form a vital part of the city’s educational landscape, offering specialised and focused academic programs.

Is Grammar School a State School?

In the UK, grammar schools are indeed a type of state school. They differ from typical comprehensive schools in their selection process, usually requiring students to pass an entrance exam, such as the 11-plus. This selective nature contributes to their reputation for high academic standards and a commitment to fostering a culture of excellence and discipline.

Top 10 Grammar Schools in London

1. The Henrietta Barnett School (Barnet)

The Henrietta Barnett School (Barnet)
The Henrietta Barnett School

The Henrietta Barnett School is a prestigious girls’ London grammar school located in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, founded in 1911 and became an academy in 2021. The school has gained an excellent reputation for academic excellence, enrichment opportunities, and consistently ranks as one of the top state schools in the country. In 2022, 28 Henrietta Barnett sixth-formers received Oxbridge offers. The school is renowned for its recent ambitious refurbishments, including eight science labs, a new music and drama school, an art and design centre, and an extended library. With a total number of 793 pupils, the school offers 104 places to Year 7 students.

The Henrietta Barnett Term School Dates 2023-2024

  • Autumn Term: Friday 1st September – Friday 20th October
  • Half Term: Monday 23rd October – Friday 27th October
  • Autumn Term: Monday 30th October – Friday 15th December
  • Christmas Holidays: Monday 18th December – Tuesday 2nd January
  • Spring Term: Wednesday 3rd January – Friday 9th February
  • Half Term: Monday 12th February – Friday 16th February
  • Spring Term: Monday 19th February – Thursday 28th March
  • Easter Holidays: Friday 29th March – Friday 12th April
  • Summer Term: Monday 15th April – Friday 24th May
  • Half Term: Monday 27th May – Friday 31st May
  • Summer Term: Monday 3rd June – Wednesday 17th July

Admission Process

The admission process involves two tests: the GL Assessment and the school’s own Second Round test. The highest-scoring 300 candidates are invited to take The Henrietta Barnett Second Round test in early October 2023, and the school does not specify a pass mark. The cut-off score depends on the performance of the cohort each year, with 2,849 children applying for Year 7 in 2021. The school’s A-level and GCSE results are exceptional, with 97.3% of A-levels achieving A*-B grades and 98.8% of GCSEs receiving 9/8/7 grades.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the 11 plus test is 11th July 2023, with the national school offer day on 1st March 2024.

2. Queen Elizabeth’s School (Barnet)

Queen Elizabeth's School and their students
Queen Elizabeth’s School

Queen Elizabeth’s School, a prestigious boys’ grammar school in Barnet, London, was founded in 1573. Renowned for its high performance across UK schools, it was named the Sunday Times State School of the Year in 2022. The school fosters excellence in academics as well as in music, sports, arts, and languages.

Leadership and Student Body

The school, led by headteacher Neil Enright, has a student population of 1,292. It is a selective school, admitting pupils based on the 11 plus exam results.

11 Plus Exam and Admissions Process

The 11 plus exam, scheduled for 20th and 21st September 2023, is crucial for admission. Conducted by GL Assessment, it comprises two papers in English and Maths. A minimum score of 210 is required for consideration, with 180 places available. In case of tie scores, proximity to the school is a deciding factor.

Academic Achievements

The school’s exceptional academic record includes 98.3% A*–B in A levels and 95.7% grades 9/8/7 in GCSEs in 2022. It holds the second rank nationally according to the Sunday Times Parent Power.

Admission Details for Year 7

For Year 7 admissions, the contact email is admissions@qebarnet.co.uk. There are 180 places available in Year 7, with the 11 plus exam registration open from 1st May and closing on 14th July 2023. The local authority application deadline is 31st October 2023, with national school offers announced on 1st March 2024.

School Term Dates

The school operates on a three-term system, with specific dates for the autumn, spring, and summer terms, including two half terms in each.

Application Process

To apply, parents must register their child for the 11 plus exam between 1st May and mid-July 2023. Post-exam, results in mid-October will guide school choices on the local authority application form, due by 31st October 2023. Parents should verify eligibility criteria in the school’s admissions policy before applying.

3. Wilson’s School, Wallington (Sutton)

Wilson's School and their students near school building
Wilson’s School

Wilson’s School, an all-boys grammar school in Wallington, Sutton Council, was established in 1615. It stands out for its exceptional A level and GCSE results. With 1,301 pupils, the school is under the leadership of Nathan Cole. It was honoured as the London State Secondary School of the Decade by the Sunday Times in 2020 and ranks 3rd nationally according to Sunday Times Parent Power.

Admissions and Entrance Tests

The school has 186 places for Year 7, with the 11 plus registration period open from May 1 to August 4, 2023. Admissions include the Selective Eligibility Test (SET) on September 12, 2023, and the school’s own second-stage test on September 30, 2023. Wilson’s School also offers optional sports and music tests. The deadline for the Common Application Form (CAF) is October 31, 2023.

Academic Achievements

Wilson’s School boasts impressive academic records, with A level results of 97.9% A*–B and GCSE results of 95.4% grades 9/8/7. Its performance places it among the top schools nationally.

4. The Tiffin Girls’ School (Kingston-upon-Thames)

The Tiffin Girls' School
The Tiffin Girls’ School

The Tiffin Girls’ School, located in Kingston upon Thames, is a highly esteemed grammar school for girls aged 11 to 18. It enjoys an outstanding academic reputation, currently ranked as the 4th best state secondary school in the UK. The school is committed to fostering inclusivity, independence, and creativity, and it places a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities. A notable achievement of the school is its success in sending a high percentage of its graduates to top universities, including 84% to Russell Group universities in 2022.

Admissions Process

The school offers 180 places for Year 7 admission. The admissions process involves a two-stage 11 plus exam, with shortlisted candidates from Stage One progressing to Stage Two. The selection process is competitive, and passing the assessments does not guarantee a place due to the high number of applicants.

Academic Excellence and University Placement

The Tiffin Girls’ School has an impressive record in academic excellence, with a significant proportion of its students progressing to prestigious universities. In 2022, 25 students were accepted into Oxford and Cambridge, reflecting the school’s strong focus on academic achievement and university preparation.

School Term Dates

The term dates for the 2023-2024 academic year at The Tiffin Girls’ School are from September 4th, 2023, to July 19th, 2024. These dates mark the comprehensive academic calendar the school follows.

5. St Olave’s Grammar School (Bromley)

St Olave's Grammar School
St Olave’s Grammar School

St Olave’s Grammar School, located in Orpington, London, is a selective state grammar school founded in 1561. Catering to boys aged 11 to 18 and girls in the sixth form (ages 16 to 18), it ranks among the top 10 grammar schools in the UK and the top 5 in London. The school celebrates a diverse student body and encourages success across academic, sporting, cultural, and moral dimensions.

Academic Excellence and University Placement

St Olave’s is known for its exceptional academic performance, with almost all students progressing to higher education, including over 100 students gaining admission to Oxford and Cambridge in the last five years. The school, with over 1,050 pupils, is ranked 7th nationally by the Sunday Times Parent Power. It boasts 96.4% A*-B grades at A-levels and 91% grades 9/8/7 at GCSEs.

Individual Pupil Mentoring Scheme

The school offers an Individual Pupil Mentoring Scheme to support students in achieving their full potential, catering to their individual needs and aspirations.

Admissions Process

St Olave’s admits pupils based on the Selective Eligibility Test (SET), a two-stage 11 plus process for academically able students. The Supplementary Information Form (SIF) for the SET is available from June 12th to July 3rd, 2023. Approximately 450 boys are invited to the Stage 2 test in November. Success in the second stage allows parents to list the school on their common application form, but it does not guarantee a place due to the high competition for limited spots.

School Leadership and Term Dates

Under the leadership of headteacher Andrew Rees, the school follows a three-term academic year from August 30th, 2023, to July 23rd, 2024, with two half-terms in each term.

6. Tiffin School (Kingston-upon-Thames)

Tiffin School (Kingston-upon-Thames)
Tiffin School (Kingston-upon-Thames)

Tiffin School, located in Kingston upon Thames, is a prominent grammar school for boys aged 11-18 and a mixed sixth form for girls aged 16-18. With a history dating back to 1638, the school is committed to encouraging students to engage, aspire, and excel. It ranks among the top 10 state secondary schools in London, noted for its excellent exam results and a majority of students advancing to higher education, including Oxford and Cambridge.

Co-curricular Activities and School Leadership

The school, led by Mike Gascoigne, offers a diverse range of co-curricular activities, such as the House Championship, performing arts, and sports, fostering a holistic development environment. Tiffin School has over 1,400 pupils and is nationally ranked 21st by the Sunday Times Parent Power.

Academic Achievements

Tiffin School’s academic credentials are impressive, with A-level results at 91.5% A*–B and GCSE results at 84.4% grades 9/8/7, reflecting its focus on academic excellence.

Admissions Process

Admission to Tiffin School involves a two-stage 11 plus test, starting with multiple-choice papers in English and Maths, followed by written papers in Stage Two. The process is designed to select children within the top 25% of their academic year group. The application deadline for the local council is October 31, 2023.

School Term Dates

The 2023-2024 academic year at Tiffin School runs from September 4, 2023, to July 19, 2024. It includes half-term breaks from October 23 to November 3, 2023, February 12-16, 2024, and May 27-31, 2024.

7. The Latymer School (Enfield)

The Latymer School
The Latymer School

Established in 1624, The Latymer School is a coeducational grammar school located in Edmonton, northeast London. It offers a broad and balanced curriculum that includes traditional subjects as well as contemporary options like business studies, media studies, computer science, and four modern languages. The school focuses on providing a first-class liberal education, fostering confidence and considerateness in its students.

Extracurricular Activities

The Latymer School places significant emphasis on extracurricular activities as a vital aspect of education. Students have the opportunity to engage in various clubs and societies, musical ensembles, drama productions, and sports teams, enhancing their educational experience.

Student Body and Academic Achievements

With approximately 1,350+ pupils, the school is nationally ranked 24th according to Sunday Times Parent Power. Its academic performance is noteworthy, with A-level results at 86% A*–B and GCSE results at 91.6% grades 9/8/7.

Admissions and 11 Plus Exam

The Latymer School offers 192 places in Year 7. The admissions process involves the 11 plus exam, designed for children within the top academic range. This exam includes maths and verbal reasoning papers by GL Assessment and an English paper by the school, taking place on September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 2023. The results are age-standardised, and the top 700 ranked children have their English papers marked by the school staff.

8. Newstead Wood School (Bromley)

Newstead Wood School
Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School, located in Orpington, Bromley, is a highly selective girls’ grammar school with a mixed sixth form. It is renowned for its exceptional academic results and pastoral care. The school is committed to providing a rich educational experience, offering a wide range of enrichment opportunities, including sports, music, modern languages, and performing arts.

Facility Improvement Plan

The school is currently executing a 10-year plan to enhance its facilities. This includes renovating the library, creating a new Design and Technology kitchen area, and refurbishing all 10 science laboratories, ensuring a state-of-the-art learning environment.

Admissions Process

Due to its high demand, Newstead Wood School is heavily oversubscribed. The admissions process involves registering for the Bromley 11 plus exam. This exam consists of two test papers focused on verbal and non-verbal reasoning. To pass, candidates must achieve a total standardised score of 210, although a higher score does not guarantee admission. Parents are required to apply for a school place using the common application form before the deadline on 31st October 2023.

9. Wallington High School for Girls (Sutton)

Wallington High School for Girls
Wallington High School for Girls

Wallington High School for Girls, founded in 1888, is a prestigious girls-only grammar school specialising in STEM and languages. It boasts an outstanding reputation for both academic excellence and pastoral care. The school, with 1,524 pupils, is ranked 26th in the Sunday Times Parent Power.

Admissions Process

The admissions process at Wallington High School for Girls involves the Selective Eligibility Test (SET) followed by a second-stage exam. The school coordinates its entrance test and registration process with other grammar schools in Sutton, offering a streamlined approach for applicants.

School Term Dates and Application Information

The school’s term dates for the 2023-2024 academic year are provided, along with detailed information on the application process and insights into what the Sutton 11 plus exam entails. Prospective students and parents can find this information helpful for planning and preparation.

Entrance Exam Criteria

Unlike some other schools, Wallington High School for Girls does not have a specific pass mark for its entrance exam. Admission is based on the candidates’ performance in the entrance tests and the overall demand for places at the school.

10. Nonsuch High School for Girls (Sutton)

Nonsuch High School for Girls
Nonsuch High School for Girls

Nonsuch High School, an academy girls’ grammar school specialising in science and languages, is located in Cheam, Sutton, UK. Founded in 1938 and a part of the Girls’ Learning Trust since 2015, the school has 1,511 pupils and is nationally ranked 30th by the Sunday Times Parent Power. It is committed to offering a broad and balanced curriculum with enrichment opportunities aimed at developing insightful and compassionate global citizens.

Year 7 Admissions and Entrance Exam

The admissions process for Year 7 includes a Selective Eligibility Test (SET) followed by the school’s own second-stage exam. There are 210 places available for Year 7. The 11 plus registration for the SET opens on May 1st, 2023, and closes on August 4th, 2023. The SET exam is scheduled for September 12th, 2023. Nonsuch High School and Wallington High School conduct a joint second-stage test, the NWSSEE, on September 30th, 2023.

Application Timeline

Prospective students must complete the application form by the deadline of October 31st, 2023. This deadline is crucial for families considering Nonsuch High School for their child’s education.


In conclusion, selecting the ideal grammar school for your child, whether in or near London, can be a complex task. This list of top 10 grammar schools aims to simplify that decision, providing a guide to schools that, while unique in their offerings and challenges, share a dedication to academic excellence and a proven record of preparing students for future success.

We trust this list has been enlightening and helpful in your search for the perfect grammar school. Remember, in evaluating these options, it’s crucial to consider your child’s individual needs and aspirations. Engaging an 11+ tutor can further aid in this decision-making process. Additionally, visiting these schools personally can offer valuable insights into their unique culture and community, helping you make a well-informed choice.


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