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The best grammar schools in Essex

Local guide

Feb 2, 2023, 3:43 PM

The best grammar schools in Essex

If you live in Essex and you're considering a grammar school education for your child, you have plenty of options – there are 11 grammar schools in the county to choose from.

Keep reading to find out more about the top five grammar schools in Essex and how to help your child prepare for the local 11 plus exam.

Contents

What are grammar schools?

Grammar schools are a type of state secondary school in the UK. They are free, funded by the government. Known for academic success, they are selective, meaning that they admit pupils based on their academic ability.

Guide to grammar schools

Children applying for a grammar school in Essex take an 11 plus test. Most of the grammar schools in Essex use the same test, which is administered by the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex).

The 5 best grammar schools in Essex

1. King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford

King Edward VI Grammar School Chelmsford ©kegs.org.uk

King Edward VI Grammar School (known locally as KEGS) was founded in 1551 through a royal warrant from King Edward VI. There is a strong focus on academic achievement at the school and a serious work ethic among students and staff. Beyond the classroom, pupils at KEGS have access to a huge range of extracurricular opportunities, including musical orchestras, choirs and ensembles, sports fixtures played at local and national levels, the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), the Duke of Edinburgh Award and numerous other clubs and societies to provide for wide-ranging interests.

The school is the highest-performing grammar school in Essex and is ranked 8th out of all grammar schools in the UK.

  • Town: Chelmsford

  • Local council: Essex County Council

  • Gender: boys 11–18, mixed sixth form

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • GCSE results (2022): 93.8% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 93.3% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools: 8

How to apply to King Edward VI Grammar School


2. Colchester Royal Grammar School

Colchester Royal Grammar School ©linkedin.com

Founded in 1206, Colchester Royal Grammar School was granted Royal Charters from both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I and became an Academy Trust in 2012. The school aims to provide its students with the best education, give them the greatest opportunities, and compete with the best schools across the world. Unusually among state schools, the school offers boarding for sixth form students.

Colchester Royal Grammar School is ranked 10th out of all grammar schools in the UK and was named the Sunday Times East Anglia State Secondary School of the Decade. The Good Schools Guide notes that Colchester Royal Grammar School 'rivals many independents.

  • Town: Colchester

  • Local council: Essex County Council

  • Gender: boys 11–18, mixed sixth form

  • Number of pupils: 1,000+

  • GCSE results (2022): 84% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 95.8% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools: 10

How to apply to Colchester Royal Grammar School


3. Chelmsford County High School for Girls

Chelmsford County High School ©wikipedia.org

Chelmsford County High School for Girls (CCHS) is a highly selective and ambitious girls' grammar school, founded in 1907. It has a self-described 'fast' academic place, with extremely high academic standards. In a recent parent and pupil survey, 96% of pupils said that they enjoy learning at the school, and over 98% of parents said that their daughter feels happy at the school.

Chelmsford County High School for Girls is the 17th highest-ranking state secondary school in the UK. Unlike the other grammar schools in Essex, it is not a member of the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex) and has its own unique entrance exam.

  • Town: Chelmsford

  • Local council: Essex County Council

  • Gender: girls 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,000+

  • GCSE results (2022): 95.4% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 87.5% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools: 17


4. Colchester County High School for Girls

Colchester County High School for Girls ©gazette-news.co.uk

Colchester County High School for Girls (CCHSG) was founded in 1909 to provide an excellent education for girls and continues to combine tradition and innovation in the 21st century. In addition to excellent exam results, CCHSG has an outstanding reputation for the progress pupils make throughout their time at the school.

Pupils at CCHSG are able to get involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities, including opportunities in the theatre and drama, several musical bands and ensembles, and a range of sports – including fixtures played at local, district, regional and national levels. The school also runs the Jack Petchey Award Scheme, which recognises students who help provide opportunities for others in their community.

  • Town: Colchester

  • Local council: Essex County Council

  • Gender: girls 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,000+

  • GCSE results (2022): 94% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 86.8% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools: 19

How to apply to Colchester County High School for Girls


5. Westcliff High School for Boys

Westcliff High School for Boys ©whsb.essex.sch.uk

Founded in 1920, Westcliff High School for Boys (WHSB) focuses on building moral values and a sense of community, along with a huge passion for sport and building character, leadership and teamwork skills. Through classroom teaching and extra-curricular activities, the school aims to develop a series of Learner Profile characteristics in every pupil.

The school's public exam results are consistently high and are growing in many subjects. Pupils' exam results in 2022 place Westcliff High School for Boys 5th out of all grammar schools in East Anglia, and 53 among grammar schools in the UK.

  • Town: Westcliff-on-Sea

  • Local council: Essex County Council

  • Gender: boys 11–18, mixed sixth form

  • Number of pupils: 1,200+

  • GCSE results (2022): 82.2% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 83.1% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools: 53

How to apply to Westcliff High School for Boys

How to get into a grammar school in Essex

Most grammar schools in Essex use the CSSE (Consortium of Selective Schools in Essex) 11 plus to select pupils for entry. The only exception is Chelmsford County High School for Girls, which uses its own bespoke test and has a different admissions process.

Pupils take the CSSE 11 plus test in September while they’re in Year 6. This consists of two test papers (each about one hour) in English and maths. Children with the highest 11 plus scores will then be eligible for a place at a grammar school in Year 7.

Guide to the CSSE 11 plus

All-in-one platform for 11 plus prep

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11 plus practice papers

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