How Many Grammar Schools In UK

PUBLISHED: September 15, 2020

 UPDATED: October 15, 2020

How Many Grammar Schools in UK

In May 2018, the government announced that grammar schools in England are going to be able to offer thousands of new places in a trimmed-down selective school expansion programme. But the question is how many grammar schools in UK?

Grammar schools have been part of our history, can be traced their roots to before the 16th century. They play a prominent role in the UK education system.

Some of the famous, well-known celebrities and high achievers hailed from the Grammar schools such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Sir David Attenborough, Benedict Cumberbatch. comedian Jimmy Carr, TV presenters like Ulrika Jonsson, Fern Britton and Chef Heston Blumenthal and many many more.

How many grammar schools in UK

According to the latest statistics from BESA, there are 163 grammar schools in England with a total of around 176,000 pupils, compared to 3,448 state secondary schools. A further 69 grammar schools are in Northern Ireland.



Grammar schools



Secondary schools


3.41 Millon

Independent schools



Over the past 30 years, a very gradual but steady increase in the number and proportion of pupils at the remaining 163 grammar schools.

We have a latest and greatest list of all 163 grammar schools in the U.K. You can sort by region, gender and Ofsted rating. You can search filter and you can do all the ninja skill with the data.

We have comprehensive resources for 11 plus preparation. Please check without fail.

Before you start your preparation, I would suggest you read the very important article I wrote to show you the structural framework that you need to understand to pass the 11 plus preparation.

If you want to know what is all about the "11-plus", then I wrote a superb guide on 11 plus on this site.

How many schools are in England

Most of the UK's schools are in England. There are 24,323 schools in England – including 391 nurseries, 16,769 primary schools, 3,448 secondary schools, 2,319 independent schools, 1,044 special schools and 352 pupil referral units (PRUs).





Primary schools


Secondary school


Independent schools


Special schools


Pupil referral units (PRUs)


How many schools are in the UK

There are currently 32,770 schools in the UK. Of these, 3,714 nurseries or early-learning centres, 20,832 primary schools, 19 middle schools, and 4,188 secondary schools. There are 2,408 independent schools, 1,257 special schools and 352 pupil referral units (PRUs).





Primary schools


Middle school


Secondary school


Independent schools


Special schools


Pupil referral units (PRUs)


In 1965, the government directed local education authorities to begin phasing out selective schools and secondary moderns, and replace them with a comprehensive school system.

In 1998, Labour's School Standards & Framework Act regulated the new establishment of all selective schools (i.e. Grammar schools). In 2016,

Theresa May lifted the ban on the creation of grammars stating she felt this would bring back 'true meritocracy'. Due to the lack of support in parliament, her initial plan fell short. 

Approximately 20 years later, in May 2018, the government announced that grammar schools in England are going to be able to offer thousands of new places in a trimmed-down selective school expansion programme.

The set of expanded grammar schools will have to set out plans to provide education to disadvantaged pupils, possibly by lowering the barriers to entrance requirements.

Grammar Schools provide free education. Grammar schools do not charge fees because the state government funds them. All of the Grammar schools in England are secondary schools.

Grammar school system chooses its pupils using an entrance exam popularly known as the 11 plus. Under the selection process, pupils who pass the "11 Plus" exam would go to the local grammar school. Those who do not qualify 11 plus would go to comprehensive secondary school.

Grammar school vs Public school

People often ask what is the apparent difference between grammar school and public school.

After the Education Act 1944, secondary education in this country was organised into two categories:

  • Grammar schools, mostly focused on academic studies, with the premise that the majority of pupils would go to universities for higher education.
  • Secondary modern schools, which were intended for the pupil who would be going into trades.

There was a third kind knows as a technical school, but very few were established.

Before we deep dive into the subject, you have to understand the different types of schools and systems established in this country in the 20th century.

In this country, primarily, we have three types of secondary schools.

  • Primary schools
  • Comprehensive schools (also known as State schools or Public schools, or State secondaries)
  • Private schools (also known as Independent schools)
  • Grammar schools (also known as Selective schools)
  • Special schools 
  • Pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • Nurseries

Comprehensive schools (also knowns as public schools or state secondary schools) are nothing but regular state schools, which teach a wide range of curriculum including academic, vocational and practical. 90 per cent of UK pupils are in the comprehensive system.

According to the latest statistic of 2021, the number of pupils in state-funded secondary schools are approximately at 3.41 million, and the number is steadily rising by 81,300, continuing a trend of year on year growth since 2016. The further 10 per cent of pupils attend private, faith or grammar schools, or are home-schooled.

Grammar schools are the only government-funded state secondary schools in England that are allowed to select all pupils based on their academic ability.

Grammar schools use a selection process and pupil who aspire to study in grammar school would have to pass an exam called 11 plus exam. 

To get into a grammar school, pupils must pass an exam when they are in year 6 to enter into Year 7 at a Grammar School. They will get offered a grammar school placement if they pass the 11 plus exam, which might involve questions based on maths, verbal, non-verbal reasoning, English language or creative writing.

Public schools don't use any selection process, the admission is relatively straight forward, and the pupil gets in when they are in the catchment area.

It is essential to understand that passing the 11 plus is not a guarantee of a state grammar school admission. Suppose there are fewer places than the pupil who qualify. In that case, grammar schools will use their own drafted oversubscription criteria such as offering placement to those who achieved the very highest score.

Advantages of grammar schools

Grammar schools are most sought after because of the selective education provided is on par with the best-run private schools in the country.

Grammar school pupils will undergo a very disciplined system under the able management of the academy status, where headteachers and the teaching staff would strive for the best outcomes.

Although not all grammar schools are providing a high standard of education, they hold a better profile than comprehensive schools in the public view.

quotation mark afs

Grammar schools are defined by their pursuit of academic excellence, traditional teaching methods and ethos of strict discipline.

— Bob McCartney, chair of the National Grammar Schools Association.

Bob McCartney, chair of the National Grammar Schools Association, also explains 'Pupils are selected based on their academic potential, to identify those who are most suitable for this type of education.'

Children who either don't apply for a grammar school place or fail to meet the necessary academic standard go instead to a non-selective comprehensive school.

If we stop the debate for a second whether the grammar schools are best or not, preparing for the 11 Plus will change the trajectory of your child.

It's my own experience as my son who passed the 11-plus exam in 2016 is now cruising the secondary school. I can see the hockey stick curve in his attitude towards education and general grades.

I am an ardent fan of 11 Plus exam preparation. Irrespective of the result, the exam preparation makes our children ready for the secondary schools' system. The kids who prepared are in a better position than any other who makes no effort towards the entrance exam.

When education turns out to be a commodity, the Grammar school entrance exam (11 plus exam) and the preparation towards the Grammar School place will set your son or daughter apart from everyone else.

The grammar school entrance preparation is the differentiator of better-equipped children vs non-primed children. If you prepare to detach yourself from the end result, the preparation for the 11-plus test could change the trajectory of your little ones.

According to a new report, Pupils at selective schools are far less likely to opt for a special education needs or be eligible for free school meals compared to students in non-selective secondary schools.

It suggests that the other schools in selective areas are also disproportionately dealing with the more chronically poor by not only taking more than their fair share of pupils on free school meals (FSM).

It has been reliably reported that the percentage of pupils entitled to free school meals has increased in 2020 from the previous year in the schools' system.

The system effectively divided pupils into two types one who destined for higher studies in university and better jobs. The rest categorised more suitable for less celebrated professions. Grammar school pupils were thought to be predestined for university education.

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Sutton Trust Report (2008)

Grammar School pupils make greater progress throughout Key Stage 3 and 4 and achieve better GCSEs and A levels compared to pupils from other types of school.

What Disciplines the Grammar School Entrance Exam Test?

Although the exam framework and pattern varies between different parts of the country, the exam will test the skill level from the following subjects.

  • English
  • Maths
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-verbal Reasoning

Although there are 4 subjects to learn the test mainly divided into 3 disciplines

  • Verbal Reasoning (English)
  • Numerical Reasoning (Maths)
  • Non-verbal Reasoning

Northern Irish grammar schools use the Northern Ireland Transfer Test.

Grammar school near me

A handful of counties and local authorities in England have kept mostly selective schools systems, including Kent, Medway, Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire. In contrast, other areas such as Gloucestershire, Trafford and Slough have a mix.

We have a comprehensive list of every grammar school in this country (England). You can sort the table using the small arrow button on the header row. I know they are very tiny and is not convenient. 

I am working towards a new design which makes it a little bit more accessible. Please bear with me (is it "bear with me" or "bare with me" always confusing :-). 

Until then, watch this video to check your nearest grammar schools using the table below. There are some best schools in the Sutton area.

Refer this table in your content? Grab the link:

Grammar SchoolRegionGenderOfsted Rating
Alcester Grammar SchoolWarwickshireMixedOutstanding
Altrincham Grammar School for BoysTraffordBoysOutstanding
Altrincham Grammar School for GirlsTraffordGirlsOutstanding
Aylesbury Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireBoysOutstanding
Aylesbury High SchoolBuckinghamshireGirlsOutstanding
Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar SchoolLancashireMixedOutstanding
Barton Court Grammar SchoolKentMixedGood
Beaconsfield High SchoolBuckinghamshireGirlsOutstanding
Beths Grammar SchoolBexleyBoysOutstanding
Bexley Grammar SchoolBexleyMixedOutstanding
Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School BirminghamBoysOutstanding
Bishop Wordsworth School for BoysDevonBoysOutstanding
Borden Grammar SchoolKentBoysGood
Boston Grammar SchoolLincolnshireBoysRequires Improvement
Boston High SchoolLincolnshireGirlsGood
Bourne Grammar SchoolLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
Bournemouth SchoolDorsetBoysOutstanding
Bournemouth School for GirlsDorsetGirlsOutstanding
Burnham Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireMixedGood
Caistor Grammar SchoolLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
Calday Grange Grammar SchoolWirralBoysGood
Carre’s Grammar SchoolLincolnshireMixedGood
Chatham & Clarendon Grammar SchoolKentMixedGood
Chatham Grammar School for GirlsMedwayGirlsGood
Chelmsford County High SchoolEssexGirlsOutstanding
Chesham Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireMixedOutstanding
Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar SchoolBexleyMixedGood
Churston Ferrers GrammarDevonMixedOutstanding
Clitheroe Royal Grammar SchoolLancashireMixedOutstanding
Colchester County High SchoolEssexGirlsOutstanding
Colyton Grammar SchoolDevonMixedOutstanding
Cranbrook SchoolKentMixedOutstanding
Dane Court Grammar SchoolKentMixedOutstanding
Dartford Grammar SchoolKentBoysOutstanding
Dartford Grammar School for GirlsKentGirlsOutstanding
Denmark Road High SchoolGloucestershireGirlsOutstanding
Devonport High School for BoysDevonBoysOutstanding
Devonport High School for GirlsDevonGirlsGood
Dover Grammar School for BoysKentBoysGood
Dover Grammar School for GirlsKentGirlsOutstanding
Dr. Challoners Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireBoysOutstanding
Dr. Challoners High SchoolBuckinghamshireGirlsOutstanding
Ermysted’s Grammar SchoolYorkshireBoysOutstanding
Fort Pitt Grammar SchoolMedwayGirlsOutstanding
Gravesend Grammar SchoolKentBoysOutstanding
Haberdashers' AdamsWolverhamptonBoysOutstanding
Handsworth Grammar School for BoysBirminghamBoysOutstanding
Heckmondwike Grammar SchoolYorkshireMixedOutstanding
Henrietta BarnettBarnetGirlsOutstanding
Herschel Grammar SchoolBerkshireMixedOutstanding
Highsted Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
Highworth Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
Holcombe Grammar SchoolMedwayBoysGood
Ilford County High School for BoysEssex (Redbridge)BoysOutstanding
Invicta Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
John Hampden Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireBoysOutstanding
Kendrick SchoolBerkshireGirlsOutstanding
Kesteven & Grantham Girls’ SchoolLincolnshireGirlsOutstanding
Kesteven & Sleaford High School Selective AcademyLincolnshireGirlsGood
King Edward VI Aston SchoolBirminghamBoysOutstanding
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for BoysBirminghamBoysOutstanding
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for GirlsBirminghamGirlsOutstanding
King Edward VI ChelmsfordEssexMixedOutstanding
King Edward VI Five Ways SchoolBirminghamMixedOutstanding
King Edward VI Grammar SchoolLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
King Edward VI Handsworth SchoolBirminghamGirlsOutstanding
King Edward VI SchoolWarwickshireBoysOutstanding
Lancaster Girls’ Grammar SchoolLancashireGirlsOutstanding
Lancaster Royal Grammar SchoolLancashireMixedOutstanding
Langley Grammar SchoolBerkshireMixedOutstanding
Latymer SchoolEnfieldMixedOutstanding
Lawrence Sheriff SchoolWarwickshireBoysOutstanding
Liverpool Blue Coat SchoolLiverpoolMixedOutstanding
Loreto Grammar SchoolTraffordGirlsOutstanding
Maidstone Grammar SchoolKentBoysGood
Maidstone Grammar School for GirlsKentGirlsOutstanding
Marling SchoolGloucestershireBoysOutstanding
Mayfield Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
Newport Girls’ High SchoolWolverhamptonGirlsOutstanding
Newstead WoodBromleyGirlsOutstanding
Nonsuch High School for GirlsSurreyGirlsGood
Oakwood Park Grammar SchoolKentBoysGood
Parkstone Grammar SchoolDorsetGirlsOutstanding
Pate’s Grammar SchoolGloucestershireMixedOutstanding
Plymouth High School for GirlsDevonGirlsGood
Poole Grammar SchoolDorsetBoysGood
Queen Elizabeth Grammar SchoolCumbriaMixedOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth's High SchoolLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth's SchoolBarnetBoysOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar SchoolKentMixedOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, AlfordLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, HorncastleLincolnshireMixedOutstanding
Queen Mary’s Grammar SchoolWolverhamptonBoysOutstanding
Queen Mary’s High SchoolWolverhamptonGirlsOutstanding
Rainham Mark Grammar SchoolMedwayMixedOutstanding
Reading School for BoysBerkshireBoysOutstanding
Ribston Hall High SchoolGloucestershireGirlsGood
Ripon Grammar SchoolYorkshireMixedOutstanding
Royal Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireBoysGood
Royal Grammar School ColchesterEssexBoysOutstanding
Royal Latin SchoolBuckinghamshireMixedOutstanding
Rugby High SchoolWarwickshireGirlsOutstanding
Sale Grammar SchoolTraffordMixedOutstanding
Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar SchoolKentGirlsGood
Simon Langton Grammar School for BoysKentBoysOutstanding
Sir Henry Floyd Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireMixedOutstanding
Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical SchoolMedwayBoysOutstanding
Sir Roger Manwood’s SchoolKentMixedOutstanding
Sir Thomas Rich’s SchoolGloucestershireBoysOutstanding
Sir William Borlase's Grammar SchoolBuckinghamshireMixedOutstanding
Skegness Grammar SchoolLincolnshireMixedRequires Improvement
Skipton Girls’ High SchoolYorkshireGirlsOutstanding
South Wilts Grammar SchoolWiltshireGirlsGood
Southend High School for BoysEssexBoysOutstanding
Southend High School for GirlsEssexGirlsOutstanding
Spalding Grammar SchoolLincolnshireBoysGood
Spalding High SchoolLincolnshireGirlsOutstanding
St Bernard's Catholic Grammar SchoolBerkshireMixedOutstanding
St Joseph's CollegeStoke-on-TrentMixedOutstanding
St Michael’s CatholicBarnetGirlsOutstanding
St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar SchoolBromleyBoysOutstanding
St. Ambrose CollegeTraffordBoysGood
St. Anselm’s CollegeWirralBoysGood
Stratford Girls' Grammar SchoolWarwickshireGirlsOutstanding
Stretford Grammar SchoolTraffordMixedGood
Stroud High SchoolGloucestershireGirlsOutstanding
Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for GirlsBirminghamGirlsOutstanding
Sutton Grammar SchoolSurreyBoysOutstanding
The Crossley Heath SchoolYorkshireMixedOutstanding
The Crypt SchoolGloucestershireMixedOutstanding
The Folkestone School for GirlsKentGirlsOutstanding
The Harvey Grammar SchoolKentBoysOutstanding
The Judd SchoolKentBoysOutstanding
The King’s School GranthamLincolnshireBoysOutstanding
The North Halifax Grammar SchoolYorkshireMixedOutstanding
The Norton Knatchbull SchoolKentBoysGood
The Rochester Grammar SchoolMedwayGirlsOutstanding
The Skinners’ SchoolKentBoysOutstanding
The Tiffin Girls SchoolSurreyGirlsOutstanding
Tiffin SchoolSurreyBoysOutstanding
Tonbridge Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
Torquay Boys Grammar SchoolDevonBoysOutstanding
Torquay Girls Grammar SchoolDevonGirlsOutstanding
Townley Grammar SchoolBexleyGirlsOutstanding
Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for BoysKentBoysGood
Upton Court Grammar SchoolBerkshireMixedOutstanding
Upton Hall SchoolWirralGirlsOutstanding
Urmston Grammar AcademyTraffordMixedOutstanding
Wallington County Grammar SchoolSurreyBoysOutstanding
Wallington High School for GirlsSurreyGirlsGood
Weald of Kent Grammar SchoolKentGirlsOutstanding
West Kirby Grammar SchoolWirralGirlsOutstanding
Westcliff High School for BoysEssexBoysOutstanding
Westcliff High School for GirlsEssexGirlsOutstanding
Wilmington Grammar School for BoysKentBoysGood
Wilmington Grammar School for GirlsKentGirlsOutstanding
Wilson’s SchoolSurreyBoysOutstanding
Wirral Grammar School for BoysWirralBoysOutstanding
Wirral Grammar School for GirlsWirralGirlsOutstanding
Wolverhampton Girls' High SchoolWolverhamptonGirlsOutstanding
Woodford County High SchoolEssex (Redbridge)GirlsOutstanding
Wycombe High SchoolBuckinghamshireGirlsOutstanding

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About the author 

Narendra Mandadapu

I started this website to help moms and pops who need a direction to guide their little ones to pass the 11-plus. A few years back, I was exactly in your position and running around like a headless chicken. I firmly believe 11 Plus Preparation Is For Life, not a gateway to Grammar School. I am NOT a genius, but I can see things from a different perspective which helped my son to pass the 11-plus. Since then, I helped hundreds of parents. Fasten your seatbelt as principles taught here would propel your kiddos to the next generation of cutting edge creative Hogwarts rather than an army of 9-5 battalion. Are you ready for the magic?

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