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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Louisa Gregson

Top performing Greater Manchester schools revealed in Sunday Times list - does your local make it?

Schools in Altrincham and Withington have been named as the best performing in the North West.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls has been awarded The Sunday Times North West State Secondary School of the Year and moves into fifth place in the national rankings.

Altrincham School for Boys came second place in our region and Withington Girls' School was crowned North West Independent School of The Year for the fourth year in a row, beating Manchester Grammar School to the top spot.


The Parent Power Schools Guide 2023 is ranked by the percentage of examination entries gaining A*-B at A-level (which is given double weighting) and the percentage of entries returning A* and A grades, and those graded 9, 8 and 7, at GCSE and iGCSE.

Stephanie Gill, head teacher of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, praised the teachers for their hard work and expertise leading to the coveted position.

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys came second place in our region (Manchester Evening News)

She said: “The school’s academic success is due to the hard work and expertise of the teachers, alongside the support of staff for our student’s welfare and wellbeing and the resilience, determination and commitment of our students.

"There are dozens of clubs and extracurricular activities at this single-sex grammar — ranging from computing to hip-hop, Latin, psychology and chess. We believe in the NHS’s five ways to wellbeing: connecting with others, being physically active, learning new skills, giving to others and paying attention to the moment.”

Head teacher of Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Graeme Wright, said the school recently had its first Ofsted report in 15 years and was judged to be "outstanding".

Mr Wright said: "We teach a broad and challenging curriculum. Our teachers are experienced and have extensive knowledge and our students are ambitious and motivated. If you put all that into the mix you are going to get really goods results.

"Ofsted found this is a school based on kindness, respect and tolerance." Mr Wright said people from any race or socio-economic background can attend the school and will "find their niche here."

He added: "We are extremely welcoming and supportive. We are inclusive, diverse, respectful and tolerant."

Withington Girls School, Manchester (Manchester Evening News)

Today, Altrincham is one of the best places to learn in the North West. Four out of the top ten state secondary schools in the region — all of which are grammar schools – are in the WA14 and WA15 postcodes.

Withington Girls, named North West Independent School of The Year, has 700 pupils and charges £14,622-a-year fees. Pupils join the girls’ school from about 25 different primary and prep schools as well as Withington’s own junior school. In their first term they attend a school trip to an activity centre in the Lake District together with sixth-formers, to help them settle in.

Head teacher Sarah Haslam said: "We are delighted to receive this accolade, which marks the fourth year in a row that Withington has been recognised as the top independent school in the North West in The Sunday Times Schools Guide.

“The performance of our 2022 GCSE and A Level cohorts in public exams is a credit to our pupils and the staff who are always there to support them. It’s been a very challenging couple of years for all young people and our priority has been to help our students maintain a healthy mindset and a positive outlook.

"The key ingredient is, however, the students themselves; they simply love learning, as evidenced by the smiles on their faces and engaged discussions and collaboration in classes across the school between each other and their teachers.

“We create an environment where there are no barriers to pupils embracing their love of learning, with fantastic teaching, a wide range of activities, and a supportive, empowering atmosphere. Diversity is at the heart of Withington, with our pupils reflecting the culturally diverse city of Manchester and its environs and one-in-six receiving means-tested financial support."

Helen Davies, editor of The Sunday Times Parent Power guide who published the results, said: “These have been a challenging few years for teachers, pupils and their parents, and the success of many in our league table is testament to the stamina and support shown by all concerned.

"It is also clear that more attention is being placed on wellbeing and mental health – from meditation rooms to counselling support, even therapy dogs – and schools are being proactive to bring about positive changes.

“League tables are not the only criteria a parent can use when choosing a school, but they are a good starting point. We want to celebrate excellence. We want to champion schools that are doing wonderful work. We want our children to be well-nurtured and well-taught. In choosing a school parents are making one of the biggest decisions in their family life."

The top performing schools in the northwest of England are revealed in Parent Power, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2023.

Top 10 state secondary schools in the North West

1. Altrincham Grammar School for Girls

2. Altrincham Grammar School for Boys

3. The Blue Coat School, Liverpool

4. Sale Grammar School

5. Loreto Grammar School, Altrincham

6. Lancaster Girls' Grammar School

7. St Ambrose College, Altrincham

8. Wirral Grammar School for Girls

9. Stretford Grammar School

10. Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

The top 10 independent secondary schools in the North West

1. Withington Girls' School

2. The Manchester Grammar School

3. Manchester High School for Girls

4. The King's School, Chester

5. The Grange School, Northwich

6. The Queen's School, Chester

7. Stockport Grammar School

8. The King's School, Macclesfield

9. Bolton School Girls' Division

10. Cheadle Hulme School


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