Primary School League Tables: What Are They and Are They Useful?


Choosing a primary school for your little one can feel like a big thing. There’s so much to think about before they even make it to that memorable first day of school. It’s easy to feel flummoxed thinking about league tables, inspections reports and catchment areas

So, to give you a helping hand, we’ve put together the essential information on primary school league tables in England to help you navigate it all.🧭

What are primary school league tables?

The primary school league tables are used to measure how well primary schools are performing based on data from public exams. The information they provide allows parents to compare schools in their area. 🗺️

Data from each school is gathered during the SATs which are taken in the final term of year 6 when pupils are aged 10/11. This means that parents can get an idea of how students are doing as they prepare to transition from primary school to secondary school. Primary school league tables can be a helpful resource when deciding which school to send your child to.

Why are primary school league tables useful?

It’s natural to look for hard evidence when choosing something as important as a primary school – and the easiest way to find that is to look at results. The primary school league tables use results from exams to provide useful data. 

However, we all know that there’s more to a school than exam results so it’s always a good idea to consider what subjects and extra-curricular activities they offer. Perhaps they have a forest school or a well-stocked school library that you think your child would love to explore. 🎒

Also, if you’re a forward planner and are already thinking ahead to a specific secondary school, then it may be worth checking out whether it has feeder schools in the area. 

According to government ministers, primary school league tables help raise standards as they improve accountability. A study by Bristol University found that when league tables were abolished in Wales in 2001, it was followed by a fall in standards.

What’s a good primary school league table rating?

Schools are assessed on whether their students meet government standards for reading, writing and maths. If a primary school scores over 65% in these assessments, they’re considered to be a good school. 🧑🏾‍🏫

When considering primary school ratings, it’s also important to think about how students are progressing. Schools that achieve sufficient progress in reading, writing and maths are a good place to start.

If you love a bar graph and want to look up the data from specific schools or those in your area, you can use the government search page. This nifty resource allows you to get an overview of schools’ results and general performance. It also gives Ofsted grades and reports which are another way to find out about a school’s strength and areas for improvement.🛠️

Ofsted grades are as follows:

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

When can we see the primary school league tables for 2022?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department for Education cancelled the assessments and data collections for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 that would have been used to create up-to-date league tables. This means that the current available data is from 2019 and primary school league tables for 2022 have not yet been created. 

The top ten primary state schools in England

The government doesn’t provide a top ten list of primary schools. However, other sources publish primary school league tables using a combination of SATs scores, Ofsted reports and feedback from parents.

This table was made using data from the Schools Guide website. 


School Name

Ofsted result

SATs expected score

(UK average: 65%)



Hampden Gurney CofE Primary School (London)





Holy Trinity CofE Primary School (Maidenhead)





Lowbrook Academy (Maidenhead)





St Anselm's Catholic Primary School (London)





Redhill Primary School (Derby)





Lothersdale Primary School (Keighley)





Fox Primary School  (London)





Nascot Wood Junior School (Watford)





Delamere CofE Primary Academy (Tarporley)





Meysey Hampton Church of England Primary School (Cirencester)




What do the results show?

The primary school league tables from 2019 showed that 65% of pupils met government expected standards in reading, writing and maths. This was an improvement on the previous year’s result of 64%.🥳

The data also highlighted a gap of 10 percentage points between girls’ and boys’ performance. The statistics showed that 70% of female pupils met standards in all the assessed subjects (reading, writing and maths) compared with 60% of male students. In the previous year’s assessment, the gap between the achievement of boys and girls was only 8%.

So there you have it, the essential information about primary school league tables. Now you’re free to go forth and make well-informed choices!🙌

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