TRENDING

​​Best Secondary Schools in Manchester

Finding the best schools in your area can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why the team at GoStudent have put together a comprehensive guide to the best secondary schools in Manchester. 

Looking through Ofstead reports, Mumsnet reviews, and exam results, we’ve compiled the most comprehensive list of the best secondary schools in Manchester. 

Contents 

Ofstead’s 2022 Children’s Services Report for Manchester observed that services have ‘significantly improved since the last inspection in 2017’. Most areas ranked ‘Good’ – apart from ‘experiences and progress of children who need help and protection’ which was ranked slightly lower as ‘requires improvement’.

How do you rank schools?

There are many different ways that schools are ranked, ranging from official government reports to complicated data procedures that everyone seems to be confused by. 😵‍💫 But fear not! We will give you a comprehensive breakdown of the different ways of ranking schools and what they actually mean for you. 

Ofstead 

Ofstead: a word that strikes fear into the heart of every teacher across the country! 

Ofstead stands for ‘the Office for Standards in Education’ – and they do just that. Ofstead is an official government department. The department is responsible for measuring every single state school and academy in the country in a standardised way and reporting back to Parliament.  

Ofstead exists as part of the government’s policy to fight failure at school.  

You might hear talk of Ofsted Inspectors. These are the people who go into schools and inspect them. The actual title of an Ofstead Inspector is an HMI (His Majesty’s Inspector). 

Ofstead will send a number of HMIs into a school (with very little warning) and they will mark the school on a number of different criteria. After their assessment, the school will get one of the following grades: 

  1. Grade 1: Outstanding 
  2. Grade 2: Good 
  3. Grade 3: Requires improvement 
  4. Grade 4: Inadequate

In a way, the Ofstead grading tells you how good the school is compared to all of the other schools in the country.  

Ofstead will look at everything from school attendance to the extracurricular activities that a school offers: things like debate club

What are the problems with Ofstead? 

Some parents and teachers are critical of the way that Ofstead calculates these grades. It is often a very contentious matter in the world of education. 

Another downside to Ofstead is there is no way of differentiating between various schools that get the same grades. Also, Independent Schools (including Private Schools) are not obligated for Ofstead inspections, but many choose to take them anyway. This means that it can be hard to use Ofstead to compare some schools. 

Every state school and academy will have an Ofstead report (including grades) which will be freely available online. 

Exam results 

This is probably the best way to judge how successful a school is. If a school gets high results, it is a sign that they teach well or that they have a strong intake of children. 

Why might exam results not be the best way of ranking schools? 

The main problem is that there are schools who look at education as a numbers game and might pull some strings to ensure they get the highest possible results possible. For example, they might expel a student who is underachieving so that it doesn’t affect the school’s overall data. 

A high-achieving school is not necessarily a good one (by Ofstead’s measurements or anyone else’s). It is important that all data is taken with a pinch of salt! 

You might b e interested in our article on the best ways to manage anxiety when waiting for GCSE results.  

Progress 8 

Progress 8 is the one that lots of schools like to use but can be quite difficult for us parents to get our head around. 

Essentially, Progress 8 gives every school a grade that they think that school will achieve in relation to all of the other schools in the country. After results day, they then see which schools have done against those predictions. 

Progress 8 score

What this actually means

0

If a school scored exactly 0, that means that the school is doing what was expected of it in relation to the other schools in the country.

<0

If a school scored below 0, that means that the school is, overall, doing worse than was expected of it.

>0

If a school managed to score above 0, then that means that the school is, overall, doing better than was expected of it. 

 

What are the problems with the Progress 8 scoring system? 

The biggest problem is that while a school might have a high Progress 8 score, it could still get terrible results. Schools that get exceptionally high exam results have a harder time scoring on the Progress 8 system. A low achieving school that does ‘ok’ in results, will potentially have a higher result than a high-achieving school where all of the children could be getting top grades. 

Why does it matter which school is best? 

Ultimately, most people want what is best for their children. This means that many parents want to know which are the best schools so that they can play their cards right and secure a top place. 

A good school is likely to offer more opportunities for extracurricular activities, offer a higher level of teaching and learning, and generally better support pupils to become good and successful citizens. 

As the school systems in the UK often work around catchment areas, it means that the performance of a school can affect the house prices (as more parents want to move to postcodes that have the better schools). 

Top Private Schools in Manchester 

Manchester has 13 independent schools that require fees. 

Rank

Name of school

% of A*/A GCSE 

Postcode 

Fee (UK Day Student)

1

Cheltham’s School of Music

97%

MS 1SB

£26,103

2

Withington Girls’ School

90.3%

M14 6BL

£14,622

3

Manchester Grammar School

88.3%

M13 0XT

£13,980

4

Manchester High School for Girls

73%

M14 6HS

£13,230

5

Bolton School Girls’ Division

68.8%

BL1 4PB

£12,972

6

Bolton School Boys’ Division

65.2%

BL1 4PA

£12,972

7

Bury Grammar School

54.6%

BL9 0HN

£12,120

8

Oldham Hulme Grammar School

52.9%

OL8 4BX

£11,985

9

St Bede’s College

50%

M16 8HX

£12,675

10

Abbey College Manchester

40%

M2 4WG

£15,400

11

Bridgewater School

39%

M28 2WQ

£12,470

12

Beech House School

23.5%

OL11 4JQ

£6,691

13

Kassim Darwish Grammar School for Boys

N/A**

M16 8NH

£7,195

 

*The fees shown are for UK Day Students only (i.e. not boarding school fees; international pupil fees; or secondary school fees)

** Kassim Darwish Grammar School for Boys received 80% leves 4-9

The BEST school in Manchester 

With a whopping 97% of pupils achieving an A or A* in their GCSEs, Cheltham’s School of Music is unquestionably the best school in Manchester when it comes to results. However, it is not the most usual of schools. 

Cheltham’s only has 300 students and accepts students based on their musical ability. So if you live in Manchester and your kid is a whizz on the piano, it might be worth applying! 

Ofsted Outstanding Schools in Manchester 

Name of school 

Year Ofstead conducted 

Burnage Academy for Boys 

2018

Levenshulme High School

2022

Melland High School

2018

North Ridge High School

2018

Pioneer House High School

2019

Piper Hill High School 

2018

Trinity CofE High School 

2017

Wright Robinson College 

2021

 

Ofsted Good Schools in Manchester 

Name of school

Year Ofstead conducted 

Abraham Moss Community School 

2018

The Barlow RC High School 

2019

Chorlton High School 

2021

Co-op Academy Manchester 

2018

Co-op Academy North manchester 

2019

Dean Trust Ardwick 

2018

Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy 

2021

Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy 

2022

Lancastrian School 

2019

Loreto high School Chorlton 

2019

The Manchester College 

2020

Manchester Communication Academy 

2019

Meade High School 

2018

Our Lady’s RC High School 

2021

Parrs Wood high School 

2019

Southern Cross school

2018

St Peter’s RC High School 

2022

Whalley Range 

2022

William Hulme’s Grammar School 

2019

 

Remember, whatever school your child goes to, the team at GoStudent are always here to help, if you need it, Our dedicated tutors can support your child with any subject at any time! Sign up for a free trial session today! 

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