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The best schools in Berkshire

By Atom | Aug 14, 2023, 3:31 PM

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Considering a secondary school in Berkshire? There are nearly 120 state and independent secondary schools to choose from.

Keep reading to find out which private schools and state schools are ranked the highest in Berkshire. Learn about exam results, school fees, and how to apply for a place.

The 10 best private schools in Berkshire

There are 46 independent senior schools in Berkshire. The following schools are ranked the top 10 independent schools in the county for 2024.

Wellington College is a co-educational boarding school in Crowthorne for ages 13–18. It was founded in 1853 as a living memorial to the Duke of Wellington. Boys and girls live on a 400-acre parkland estate and have access to over 150 extracurricular activities. The school is one of the strongest sporting schools in the UK, with over 98% of pupils involved in weekly sports.

Key information

  • Number of pupils: 1,100

  • National league table rank: 27

  • Fees: £11,920 per term (day pupils), £16,310 per term (boarding pupils)

  • A level results: 94.7% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 86.4% A*/A/9/8/7

  • Entry points: 13+, 16+

  • 13+ entrance exam: ISEB Common Pre-Test and assessment day

How to apply to a private school

If you would like your child to attend a private school in Berkshire, you will need to register with the school. For most senior schools, registration closes in the autumn term of Year 6 for both 11 plus and 13 plus entry. A registration fee is charged when you submit the form. This usually costs between £100–£200 for UK applicants.

The top private schools in Berkshire are selective, which means your child will need to take an entrance exam to be considered for a place. The type of exam depends on the school your child is applying for. Some schools use an exam board, such as the ISEB or CEM Select, while others set their own bespoke tests. All exams test skills in English and maths, and some additionally test potential with verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

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The 10 best state schools in Berkshire

There are 71 state secondary schools and academies in Berkshire. The following 10 schools are ranked the best in the county for 2024 based on recent exam results.

Reading School is a boys' grammar school in Reading and, at nearly 900 years old, one of the oldest schools in the UK. In 2017, the Sunday Times named Reading School 'The Southeast Secondary School of the Year'. Unusually for a state school, Reading School offers weekly boarding at one third of the cost of private school fees.

Key information

  • Number of pupils: 1,100+

  • National league table rank: 8

  • A level results: 90.1% A*–B

  • GCSE results: 88.3% A*/A/9/8/7

  • Entry points: 11+, 16+

  • 11+ entry process: FSCE 11 plus exam (English, maths and creative writing)

  • Catchment area: Camberley, Crowthorne, Henley-on-Thames, Hook, Newbury, Pangbourne, Reading, Sandhurst, Tadley, Thatcham, Twyford, Wallingford, Wokingham and Yateley

  • Admission priorities: catchment area

How to apply to a state school

Grammar schools

If you would like your child to be considered for a place at a grammar school, you'll need to register for them to take the 11 plus exam.

Registration for Reading School and Kendrick School is via the school website. The four grammar schools in Slough belong to the Slough Consortium, so you'll need to register via the Slough Consortium website.

The 11 plus exam takes place in September when your child is in Year 6. The format and the content of the test depends on which school your child is applying to. You can find out more details in our guide to grammar schools in Berkshire.

You'll receive your child's 11 plus results in October. If your child has achieved the qualifying standard, you'll be able to name the school as a preferred choice on your Common Application Form (CAF).

All state schools

To apply to any state school (including grammar schools), you'll need to complete a Common Application Form (CAF). This must be submitted to your home local authority by 31st October when your child is in Year 6.

Some schools have priority places – such as for children of a particular religious affiliation, for children who live in a catchment area, or for siblings or children of current staff. If your child falls into one of these categories, you might need to complete a Supplementary Information Form (SIF) which will be available on the school website.

You will find out which school your child has been offered a place at on national offers day on 1st March.

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