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The best grammar schools in Manchester

Grammar schools
The best grammar schools in Manchester

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If you’re considering a selective school in Greater Manchester for your child’s secondary education, there are seven local grammar schools to choose from. Most grammar schools in Manchester are in the borough of Trafford, and one Manchester grammar school ranks within the UK’s top ten state secondary schools.

Manchester grammar schools ranking

Discover the best grammar schools in Greater Manchester according to the Sunday Times Parent Power league table for 2023.

1. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls ©manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Founded in 1902, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls (AGGS) is a selective girls’ grammar school in the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium. The school prides itself on outstanding examination results at GCSE and A level as well as celebrating its students’ sporting and cultural successes.

With pastoral care at its heart, AGGS has a strong reputation not only within Cheshire but nationally, thanks to its appointment as one of the first National Teaching Schools. It is currently ranked the 5th best state secondary school in the UK, and was named the Sunday Times Northwest State Secondary School of the Decade, as well as State Secondary School of the Year in 2017–18.

  • Town: Altrincham

  • Local council: Trafford Council

  • Gender: girls 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,408

  • GCSE results (2022): 96.8% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 95% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools (2023): 5

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls admissions guide

2. Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys ©wikipedia.org

The second-highest rated state secondary school in Greater Manchester is the equivalent boys’ school to the one above. Altrincham Grammar School for Boys was established in 1912 and is also a member of the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium. The school advocates for an education ‘in the broadest sense’ and encourages high performance and aspirations within and beyond academia for its students.

Students at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys have a celebrated track record of successes in sport, the arts, engineering, sciences and debating. In October 2013, a new physics centre was opened by physicist Brian Cox, housing six laboratories, a staff room and a large preparation room.

  • Town: Altrincham

  • Local council: Trafford Council

  • Gender: boys 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,338

  • GCSE results (2022): 87.5% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 91.5% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools (2023): 16

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys admissions guide

3. Sale Grammar School

Sale Grammar School.jpg ©salegrammar.co.uk

Founded in 1991, Sale Grammar is a mixed selective school in the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium. It was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in its most recent inspection and has specialist status in the Visual Arts and Science with Maths. As well as excellent exam results at GCSE and A level, the school has a high reputation for pastoral care, priding itself as a ‘happy and vibrant place to be.’

  • Town: Sale

  • Local council: Trafford Council

  • Gender: mixed 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,304

  • GCSE results (2022): 80% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 87% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools (2023): 41

Sale Grammar School admissions guide

4. Loreto Grammar School

Loreto Grammar School ©manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Established in 1909, Loreto Grammar School is a selective Catholic school for girls. The school prides itself on upholding the values of justice, sincerity, truth, freedom, joy, excellence and internationality. Both rooted in tradition and forward thinking, Loreto Grammar School aspires to nurture young Catholic women who are ‘alive to the needs of humanity and committed to making a better world’. Loreto Grammar School achieves strong academic results at GCSE and A level as well as the International Baccalaureate.

Unlike the other top Greater Manchester grammar schools, Loreto is not part of the Trafford Grammar Schools consortium (although it is in the Trafford region). This means it has a separate entrance exam from other grammar schools in the area. There is a maths paper set by the school which is similar to Key Stage 2 SATs. There are also English and verbal reasoning papers set by GL Assessment.

  • Town: Altrincham

  • Local council: Trafford Council

  • Gender: girls 11–18

  • Number of pupils: 1,071

  • GCSE results (2022): 75.4% A*/A/9/8/7

  • A level results (2022): 84.4% A*–B

  • National rank for state secondary schools (2023): 61

Loreto Grammar School admissions guide

What are grammar schools?

Grammar schools are a type of UK state secondary school. While they are government-funded and free for children to attend (unlike private schools), they select their pupils based on academic performance. This means that to secure a place at a grammar school, your child will need to pass an entrance exam known as the 11 plus (11+).

Learn more in our complete guide to grammar schools.

How many grammar schools are there in Greater Manchester?

There are seven grammar schools in Greater Manchester. The majority are in Trafford:

  • Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

  • Sale Grammar School

  • Stretford Grammar School

  • Urmston Grammar School

  • St Ambrose College

  • Loreto Grammar School

How to get into a grammar school in Manchester

If you would like your child to be considered for a place in Year 7 at a Greater Manchester grammar school, they will need to pass the 11 plus entrance exam. Children take the test in September while they’re in Year 6.

Five of the grammar schools in Manchester use the same 11 plus test, which is administered by the Trafford Grammar Schools Consortium. This means that children only have to sit the test once to apply to any of those schools.

The Trafford 11 plus test is provided by CEM. Your child will be tested on four subjects:

St Ambrose College and Loreto Grammar School are not part of the consortium and use their own separate 11 plus papers, provided by GL Assessment and the schools themselves. These tests include verbal reasoning, maths and English.

Trafford Grammar Schools 11 plus

11 plus information and resources

Manchester 11 plus practice papers

Atom Nucleus makes grammar school preparation easy with tailored resources for Manchester entrance exams.

Trafford CEM 11 plus mock tests on Atom

As a subscriber, you'll have access to unlimited practice tests that mirror the style and content of the Trafford Consortium test, as well as Loreto Grammar School and St Ambrose College, ensuring your child feels fully confident and prepared for success on exam day.

Loreto Grammar School mock tests

St Ambrose College mock tests

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