What are the best schools in Essex?

parents looking a the best schools in Essex

October 2023

If you are considering moving your young family to Essex or moving within the county, then schools are no doubt on your mind. The good news is that there are a lot of great schools in Essex, so wherever you go, you will be spoilt for choice.

Essex has 130+ secondary schools and 500+ primary schools. There is a good selection of state secondary, private and grammar schools. A staggering 179 schools in the county are currently rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted (Oct 2023).

In this article, we will take a look at some of the excellent education opportunities for children in Essex.

If you are looking for property and mortgage advice in Essex, look no further than Goldmanread. We specialise in finding competitive mortgages for professionals throughout the county, and we have excellent local knowledge. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.

Thinking of moving your family to Essex and wondering about schools?

Naturally, you want your children to have the best chance of academic success in an environment which also nurtures their social skills and mental health. The ‘right’ school for them very much depends on their individual needs, and it’s hard to judge schools on paper alone.

However, there are a few indicators that provide reassurance of the quality of schools in Essex. We’ll take a look at the “best” schools in the region below based on:

Ofsted rating: The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills is the government body responsible for inspecting schools in the UK. It gives four ratings: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

Academic performance: You can check a school’s performance using the Department of Education’s Compare School Performance website. This shows pupils’ performance in relation to the national average.

Best primary schools in Essex

There are hundreds of excellent primary schools in Essex, but here are just a few for your consideration.

Barons Court Primary School and Nursery, Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7PJ

  • Boys and girls 3-11 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 245
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 17:1
  • Nursery classes available

Beehive Lane Community Primary School, Chelmsford, CM2 9SR

  • Boys and girls 4-11 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 210
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 26:1
  • Nursery classes available

Other notable primary schools in Essex

  • Canvey Junior School, SS8 0JG
  • Shenfield St. Mary’s CE Primary School, Brentwood, CM15 9AL
  • Perryfields Junior School, Chelmsford, CM1 7PP
  • St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Billericay, CM11 2UB
  • Chipping Hill Primary School, Witham, CM8 1FR

Best secondary schools in Essex

If you’re looking at non-selective state secondary schools, these are some of the finest in the county.

Beauchamps High School, Basildon, SS11 8LY

  • Boys and girls 11-18 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 1,416
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 16:1
  • Sixth form – yes

Saffron Walden County High, CB11 4UH

  • Boys and girls 11-18 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 2,050
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 15:1
  • Sixth form – yes

The Eastwood Academy, Southend-on-Sea, SS9 5UU

  • Boys and girls 11-16 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 970
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 20:1
  • Sixth form – no

The Gilberd School, Colchester, CO4 9PU

  • Boys and girls 11-16 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 970
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 20:1
  • Sixth form – no
  • A grammar school up until 2012, now a non-selective academy

Other notable secondary schools in Essex

  • Moulshom High School, Chelmsford CM2 9ES
  • Thriftwood School, Chelmsford, CM2 8RW
  • Becket Keys Church of England Free School, Brentwood, CM15 9DA
  • Hall Mead School, Upminster, RM14 1SF
  • Maltings Academy, Witham, CM8 1EP

Best schools in Essex for Special Educational Needs

If your child learns a little differently and would benefit from a school that specialises in teaching students with special educational needs, then the following are some of the best Essex has to offer.

The St. Christopher School, Southend-on-Sea, SS9 4AW

  • Boys and girls 3-19 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 212
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 6:1
  • Sixth form – yes
  • Nursery classes available
  • Type of SEN provision – ASD, SEMH, MLD

Quarry Hill Academy, Thurrock, RM17 5UT

  • Boys and girls 2-11 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 510
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 22:1
  • Nursery classes available
  • Type of SEN provision – SEMH

Mayflower High School, Billericay, CM12 0RT

  • Boys and girls 11-18 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 1,700
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 20:1
  • Sixth form – yes
  • Type of SEN provision – SpLD

Other notable schools for SEN

  • The Pioneer School, Basildon, SS14 2LA
  • Glenwood School, Benfleet, SS7 4LW

Best grammar schools in Essex

Grammar schools are thought by many to be a pillar of academic achievement, known for their rigorous educational standards and commitment to preparing students for future success.

The admission process for grammar schools is selective and based on the outcome of the 11+ exam. The following grammar schools all have selective admission policies but are state secondary school status, i.e. they do not charge a fee.

King Edward Vi Grammar School, Chelmsford, CM1 3SX

  • Boys* 11-18 years
  • Ofsted – “Outstanding”
  • No. of pupils – 1,131
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 17:1
  • Sixth form – yes, *open to boys and girls
  • Rated 8th best grammar school in the UK, based on exam performance.

Colchester Royal Grammar School, CO3 3ND

  • Boys* 11-18 years
  • No. of pupils – 777
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 17:1
  • Sixth form – yes, open to boys and girls
  • Boarding is available for a fee

Colchester County High School for Girls, Colchester, CO3 3US

  • Girls, 11-18 years
  • No. of pupils – 1,020
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 17:1
  • Sixth form – yes
  • Ofsted – awaiting inspection following conversion to academy status
  • Rated 16th best grammar school in the UK, based on exam performance.

Chelmsford County High School for Girls, CM1 1RW

  • Girls, 11-18 years
  • Ofsted – awaiting inspection following conversion to academy status
  • No. of pupils – 1,163
  • Pupil/teacher ratio – 16:1
  • Rated 13th best grammar school in the UK, based on exam performance.

Other notable grammar schools in Essex

  • Westcliff High School for Boys, SS0 0BP
  • Westcliff High School for Girls, SS0 0BS
  • Southend High School for Girls, SS2 4UZ
  • Southend High School for Boys, SS0 0RG

Best private schools in Essex

If you are looking for a private school education for your young one (i.e. a fee-paying school), you should consider one of the following prestigious institutions. It’s worth noting that not all private schools are Ofsted-inspected. Instead, you should seek the latest Independent Schools Inspectorate report.

Brentwood School, CM15 8EE

  • Day and boarding school
  • Girls and boys 3-19
  • No. of pupils – 2,000
  • A*/A grades at GCSE – 66% (2023)
  • Academic, art, choral, drama, music, sport and sixth-form scholarships are available

Chigwell School, IG7 6QF

  • Day and boarding school
  • Girls and boys 3-19
  • No. of pupils – 1,085
  • A*/A grades at GCSE – 77.4% (2023)
  • Academic, art, drama, music and sixth-form scholarships are available

Bancroft’s School, IG7 6QF

  • Day school
  • Girls and boys 7-18
  • No. of pupils – 1,112
  • Ofsted rating – “good”
  • A*/A grades at GCSE – 76.5% (2023)
  • Music scholarships are available

What are the best places to live in Essex for schools?

At the time of writing, there are Ofsted-rated ‘good’ schools in every part of Essex, and most have a number of ‘outstanding’ schools. So your children will have access to great education across the county.

However, prominent areas that are known for leading primary, secondary, grammar and private schools include Chelmsford, Colchester, Brentwood and Uttlesford. But there are terrific schools all over Essex.

Most of the schools mentioned in this article are regularly oversubscribed, so it’s never too early to start thinking about setting down roots in the location of your preferred school.

Talk to Goldmanread for mortgage advice in Essex

When considering buying a property in Essex, it’s important to seek advice from an experienced mortgage professional, like Goldmanread.

We have been providing mortgage advice in Essex for many years and have great local knowledge, which we’re happy to share.

We are an independent mortgage broker, which means that we can look at a wide range of lenders to find the best possible deal for your circumstances. We will manage the entire mortgage application on your behalf so you can concentrate on finding the perfect family home.

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Clive Read

Clive Read is an appointed representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network. PRIMIS Mortgage Network is a trading style of Personal Touch Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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