5 of Slough's Grammar Schools Compared - 2020

One of the most challenging things you can be presented with as a parent is helping your children on the way to the best possible start in life. The most important choice you will be presented with is choosing the right school for them. 

While the choice is always going to be difficult, it can be especially tough when it comes to choosing a grammar school. Of course, grammar schools are going to offer the best possible start for your young ones, but how do you know which to choose?


The trouble that is often faced is that the information you will receive can be biased and will offer no genuine value to your search whatsoever. The purpose of this article is to take a comprehensive look at the five grammar schools in Slough, and hopefully by the end; you will be better informed as to which option is best for your child. 


The aim of the article is not to make an overall recommendation, but to leave you, the reader with a deeper knowledge of the options available provided by a neutral source.


What Are The Advantages Of Attending A Grammar School?


If, like most parents, the success of your child is important to you, then allowing them the opportunity to attend grammar school will give them the best possible opportunities in life. Since the introduction of the modern grammar school in 1944, they have been constantly associated with high levels of success. 


The selection process through the eleven plus exam can make entry into a grammar school highly competitive. One of the best advantages of sending your child to grammar school is that social standing will never come into their success at the school.


Grammar school entry is solely based on academic ability and nothing more. It is often thought that grammar schools can provide incredible opportunities for children from poorer backgrounds and help them rise the social ladder.


One of the main reasons that parents should consider sending their children to grammar school is based on the consistently strong exam results. As grammar school pupils are often of the same ability level, this gives teachers the freedom to progress the lessons far more effectively than can be done at a comprehensive school.


Last but by no means least, it is often thought that grammar schools have a very impressive track record when it comes to producing students that go on to have very successful careers in many industries. 


So, in the coming section, we are going to take an in-depth look at five grammar schools in the Slough area and hopefully enable you to decide as to which would suit your child the best and line up the best future possible.


Herschel Grammar School 

https://www.herschel.slough.sch.uk/


Herschel grammar school is located in Berkshire, Slough and is popular among parents for its vibrant and warm atmosphere. 


Herschel grammar school is an incredibly welcoming school, and while some grammar schools in Slough can sometimes appear to show crack and certain class divides, this is not the case at Herschel. 


Herschel grammar school has a very simple ethos which is based on mutual trust, the highest academic standards and they are extremely committed to nurturing to developing every one of their pupils.


Ofsted


It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that Ofsted awarded Herschel grammar school outstanding and commented:

 

“Pupils’ behaviour and attitudes to learning are outstanding and contribute to the calm, purposeful ethos in the school and to their progress in lessons.”


“Pupils thrive in the school’s academic, yet very caring and secure environment.”


“Pupils’ behaviour and attitude to learning are real strengths. Pupils behave politely and with courtesy in lessons and around the school.” 


“Arrangements for performance management and appraisal are excellent. Teachers new to the school and to teaching are very well supported. Staff value the process and opportunities for professional development.” 


“GCSE results have been consistently well above the national averages over the past five years.” 


If there is one thing that really makes Herschel grammar school stand out, it’s their commitment to the wellbeing of their pupils. Herschel understands the level of strain and stress that is placed on pupils nowadays. Herschel has gone the extra mile when it comes to taking care of the mental health of their students, and they have provided a safe environment that encourages young people to talk about their issues and stresses.

Simple Stats


When we look carefully at the details and numbers of Herschel grammar school we can see:


  • Number of pupils: 956
  • Number of boys: 519
  • Number of girls: 437
  • Age range: 11 - 18 years old
  • Gender: mixed
  • School type: Academy converter


Facilities


When we look at facilities at Herschel grammar school, they are extremely proud of their sporting facilities. The state of the art sports centre has a large sports hall with six badminton courts, indoor football, basketball, netball and it also has a dance studio.


As well as the indoor facilities, Herschel grammar school is also home to 4 netball courts, four tennis courts, two mini-tennis courts, a basketball court and a full-size Astro-turf pitch for football and hockey.

 

The Results


When we take a look at the important figures, it’s important to see just how far Herschel grammar school has come over the past four years. In 2015 Herschel grammar school saw 17% of their students achieve 8-9 A* grades. With each passing year, Herschel grammar school has shown outstanding growth.


In 2016, the rate climbed to 22%, in 2017 it saw a rise of 1% and sat at 23%, in 2018 it climbed by a rather significant 5% and sat nicely at 28%. When 2019 came around, Herschel grammar school went all out to show levels of improvement that was incredible.

The 2019 percentage of pupils achieving 8-9 A* grades jumped to a massive 46%, which was above the national average and these figures go to show just how incredibly hard the teachers and students have had to work, despite the reformed GCSEs.


When it comes A level A* - A pass rate percentages, Herschel grammar school have always managed to maintain a degree of stability and the rate consistently sits between 30% - 40%.


Destinations


According to the last available destination statistics available for Herschel grammar school, the below list shows that 112, year 13, leavers attended university all over the country and among those universities were:


  • Warwick University
  • UCL
  • Royal Holloway
  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • Brunel
  • Southbank 
  • King’s College London



These were just a few of the most popular, and if you would like to see the full list, you can view all the universities and subjects here

Final Say


On the whole Herschel, grammar school is a great choice of grammar school and would suit students from all walks of life. The school offers a lot to students, and they offer tons of support to each and every student. 

Langley Grammar School

https://www.lgs.slough.sch.uk/

 

Langley Grammar School in Slough takes much pride in being a forward-thinking and innovative school that shares a similar ethos to that of Herschel. Langley has one main goal, and that is to develop every student into a well-rounded and confident young adult.

 

Langley Grammar School is proud to be home to a mixed range of students from many backgrounds and equality is very high up on their list of top priorities, which nowadays is an incredible thing.

 

Ofsted

 

When it comes to Ofsted, the school was last inspected in 2007 and found to be outstanding. Under the current Ofsted framework, the school is now exempt from routine inspection. Some of the comments from the last Ofsted report read:

  

“Relationships between students and their teachers are excellent, and there is a vibrant community feeling among the student body.”


“Standards are exceptionally high in all key stages and are improving over time. Students make very good progress, and their achievements are outstanding, both academically and personally. This is because the school's supportive ethos motivates students to perform to the best of their ability.“


“Students are very proud of their school and enjoy the activities it offers. They are growing into mature and responsible young adults and are very well prepared for their future lives. Relationships are positive, and there is a strong community feel.”

 

One thing that does seem to be prominent throughout the report is that the school has a great reputation for how it tackles bullying and it is an issue that has never really been a problem at Langley Grammar School.


Simple Stats


We will now take a quick look at some of the available facts and figures in the school and see how it stacks up:


  • Number of pupils: 1138
  • Number of boys: 625
  • Number of girls: 513
  • Age range: 11 - 18 years old
  • Gender: mixed
  • School type: Academy converter


Facilities


Langley Grammar School is another school that takes immense pride in the sporting facilities it has available for its students. The schools' state of the art facilities include full-size all-weather Astro-turf pitch, multi-use sports hall, smaller multi-use sports hall, six outdoor courts for tennis or netball, a dance studio and a fitness suite.


Langley Grammar School also runs a Sunday morning badminton club which is extremely popular among students and parents alike. It’s available to everybody, and it’s a great way to keep fit and also get to know the school a little better.


Langley Grammar School is also one of only 30 schools in the UK that are distributing iPads throughout all students as part of a network known as Apple Distinguished Schools. While there are only 30 schools so far in the UK taking part, there are over 400 internationally and all report incredible benefits to adding iPads to daily study.

With the introduction of innovative methods like this, Langley Grammar School is putting themselves out there as one of the best grammar schools in Slough.


The Results


Now it’s time to take a look at the important stuff; we are going to take an in-depth look at the GCSE and A level results for Langley Grammar School and see just how well they perform. 

Just like Herschel, Langley Grammar School performed amazingly when it came to GCSE results. In 2019 just under 40% of the awarded grades at Langley were of grade 8-9 which is equivalent to A* or above. In some subjects, some students excelled. In chemistry, for example, 38% of students achieved the highest possible grade.


It is obvious that students of Langley Grammar School benefit from the balanced and broad education, and this is shown with the incredible GCSE results that come out of the school. 


Langley Grammar School seems to come into its own when we examine the A level results of the year 13 students. In 2019 Langley Grammar School saw a whopping 73.1% of its students achieve A*, A or B and of those results over 45% were either A or A*. This is the highest level of achievement at Langley Grammar School since 2012. 


With results like this, it’s no wonder that Langley Grammar School is so incredibly popular. In the next section, we are going to take a look at the destinations of year 13 leavers.


Destinations


As with every school on our list, we are going to take the latest figures available for the school and break down some of the most popular destinations for year 13 leavers. The last available figures for Langley Grammar School are from 2017, but they should still give a better understanding of the most popular university choices among students.


  • Oxford
  • Bath University
  • Aston University
  • University of Birmingham
  • Royal Holloway
  • UCL

  

As always, these are just the most prominent universities that jump out from the list. Should you wish to see the full list with accompanying subjects, you can view that here.


Final Say


Langley Grammar School has shown improvement year on year and could be one of the most diverse schools in Slough. Langley has a proven track record for being at the forefront of innovation and they also create an impressive and safe environment for their students.


St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School

http://www.st-bernards.slough.sch.uk/

 

St Bernard's Grammar School is yet again a superb choice of grammar school in Slough, but it does differ in many ways from the first two schools we have talked about.

 

The first thing to recognise is that St Bernard's Grammar School is a Catholic school, so religion is very prominent throughout the school and its teachings. While the thought of a Catholic school may not call to every parent, you should not let this put you off as the school has a fabulous reputation with students from many backgrounds.

 

St Bernard's Grammar School takes pride in liberating the potential of every student that walks their halls and offers outstanding guidance to all. The ethos of the school is laid out by the popular headteacher Paul Kassapian. Mr Kassapian has a passionate belief in recognising the importance of every pupil as an individual with their own gifts that need to be nurtured.  

 

Ofsted

 

As you may have come to expect, the last Often report regarded the school as outstanding, and some of the comments from the report read:

 

“Teachers know how well students are doing and effectively tailor their lessons and marking to the next steps of learning. Students also know how well they are doing and how to do even better, which has a very positive impact on learning and achievement.”

 

“Many parents and carers wrote on their questionnaires how well the school encourages children to grow into confident and independent individuals ‘as well as being inspired to become caring and responsible young citizens’. “

 

“The governing body is composed of supportive individuals who bring a useful range of professional expertise to its deliberations.”

 

Simple Stats

 

We will now take a brief look at some of the standard numbers and stats of the school before we look at some of the facilities and advantages that St Bernard's Grammar School has to offer:

 

  • Number of pupils: 806
  • Number of boys: 411
  • Number of girls: 395
  • Age range: 11 - 18 years old
  • Gender: mixed
  • School Type: Voluntary aided school


Facilities


Now, while the previously mentioned schools have state-of-the-art sporting facilities, St Bernard's Grammar School does not. As far as grammar schools go, St Bernard’s is an incredible choice even though he has no extreme facilities to speak of.

 

St Bernard's Grammar School is, after all, a voluntary aided school. What it may lack for some in the way of facilities, it makes up for in the level of attention and care paid to every student. 

 

Overall, the level of care is better as St Bernard's Grammar School keeps the admissions as low as possible to ensure that every student gets the attention and nurturing they deserve. To have an opportunity to attend a school with smaller classes is a novelty nowadays and this could be one of the biggest advantages for students in attendance at St Bernard's Grammar School.

 

The Results

 

When we examine the results presented by St Bernard's Grammar School, we are immediately wowed by some rather impressive GCSE results. In 2019 98% of students gained five or more grades at A-C level, and 100% of students passed English and mathematics. 

 

Given the new structure for the GCSE system, this rate is highly impressive, and even schools that get high results for A* grades would struggle for a 100% pass rate with English and maths. 

 

In other incredible figures, 83% of students managed to achieve the highly academic EBACC measure. When we examine how many students achieved the A* level, well, that number is also very impressive. An unbelievable 48% of students managed to get this grade, which places St Bernard's Grammar School up there with some of the top schools in the country.

 

Of course, while we are looking at the results, we also need to examine the A level results as these are equally important for all parents to be able to make an informed decision on to what school is best for their child.

 

St Bernard's Grammar School were incredibly proud to report that a huge 65% of their students managed to A*- B grades in year 13 and of these students, 80% of English students managed to achieve A*- B grades. 

 

Destinations

 

As we had mentioned earlier, St Bernard's Grammar School lacked in some facilities where other grammar schools had managed to really take on some high-end facilities. As we also said, this enabled St Bernard's to focus on nurturing every student. As you will be able to see from some of the destination universities on their list, this nurturing paid off. Some of the most prominent destinations are shown below:

 

  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • Durham
  • Royal Holloway
  • University of Birmingham

 

Final Say

 

As we have mentioned a few times St Bernard's Grammar School may not offer some of the fancy tricks and treats of the other grammar school options in Slough, but if there is one thing it offers, it’s fantastic opportunities for all of its students. If as a parent, you are looking for a solid education, St Bernard's Grammar School is a brilliant choice.

 

Upton Court Grammar School

http://www.uptoncourtgrammar.org.uk/

 

What was once known as Slough Grammar School changed its name to Upton Court Grammar School to mark its second century.

 

Above everything else, the school values excellence and tradition and has an outstanding reputation with parents in and around Slough. Upton Court Grammar School takes pride in not only nurturing the students through their academic lives; they are equally passionate about developing non-academic skills that will help the young adults in their older life.

 

Ofsted

 

As with all of the grammar schools being reviewed, they are exempt from Ofsted inspection based on the new framework. The latest report, which was outstanding was from 2008, and some of the comments from inspectors said:

 

“The outstanding teaching provided by staff, along with highly motivated learners, leads to an exciting learning atmosphere. Students said that teachers do a great deal to make lessons interesting and provide work that is challenging. Expectations are very high in lessons, and student attitudes to work are exemplary.”

 

“The quality of care, guidance and support is outstanding. The school works hard to identify the diverse needs of all students and knows them very well.”

 

Simple Stats


  • Number of pupils: 999
  • Number of boys: 529
  • Number of girls: 470
  • Age range: 11 - 18 years old
  • Gender: mixed
  • School type: Academy converter


Facilities


When it comes to facilities at Upton Court Grammar School, over the past few years, there have been some huge cash injections gone into improving the facilities all over the school. 

In 2012 there was a brand new building erected to be the home of the new English department. In 2013 the school saw a new restaurant and sixth form centre, and in the coming years, the school is going to receive a brand new performing arts centre and a four-court sports hall.


The school is already officially in the top ten schools in the United Kingdom and given the updates that are being added; you can be sure that it won’t be long before they hit the top 5. 

 

The Results


As you have probably come to expect given the level of education on offer by the schools being reviewed today, Upton Court Grammar School performed outstandingly too. 


99% of students managed to achieve five or more A-C grades and 55% of these students managed to reach the A* level. Over the past three years, Upton Court Grammar School has managed to keep their results hovering between 99% and 100%, and it’s no real surprise that they are so highly regarded not just in Slough, but in the UK.


When it came to A levels, more than 50% of the students gained A*- B grades with 18 students achieving three A grades or above.

 

Destinations


When we look at destination universities for Upton Court Grammar School, the spread is not quite as wide, but the university admissions are impressive.


  • UCL
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Nottingham
  • King’ College London
  • Queen Mary University


If you would like to go into further details about admissions and courses, you can find the information here.


Final Say


There is not much that can be said about Upton Court Grammar School that isn’t already known by its reputation. On the whole, the school is remarkable for any student from any background. It is important to remember that the school is popular and the selection process is very tough.


Burnham Grammar School

http://www.burnhamgrammar.org.uk/

 

Burnham Grammar School is led by Dr Andy Gillespie, and under his guidance, he set a task for every student to ‘Embrace Challenge.”

 

Yet again, Burnham Grammar School is set on helping each student progress through education while assisting them to prepare for the outside world. Burnham Grammar School wants each and every student to gain academic and personal success.

 

Burnham Grammar School has over the last few years managed to develop a reputation for its pursuit of excellence, and this is apparent by looking at the results they achieve. 

 

Ofsted

 

Burnham Grammar School is the only school on our list that is not exempt from Ofsted inspections but still managed a good rating. The last full inspection took place in 2012, but there was a mini inspection in 2017. 

 

The following quotes from the inspector are taken from the full inspection. While it may not be the most recent inspection, it was as close to the other inspection dates as possible. 

 

“The harmonious school community helps students to get on well together, feel very safe and behave well. Students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is very strong with increasing opportunities for students’ cultural development through the performing arts.”

 

“Students’ achievement is good with high attainment and strong progress in most subjects.” 

 

Simple Stats

 

  • Number of pupils: 1084
  • Number of boys: 552
  • Number of girls: 532
  • Age range: 11 - 18 years old
  • Gender: Mixed
  • School type: Academy converter


Facilities


If we look at facilities at Burnham Grammar School, it seems that over the coming years the whole school is getting a complete refit. Unfortunately, there is way too much in the way of new development to list it all. If you wish to see an in-depth list, you can view that here.  

Building work is starting in January 2020, and the new buildings are projected to be finished in 2021.

 

The Results



When we look at GCSE results for Burnham Grammar School, we see some of the best results in slough for achievements of A* equivalent grades. In fact, over 60% of students managed to achieve this level.


For those familiar with the history of Burnham Grammar School, this should come as no surprise, as a rule, the English and Maths pass figures generally sit at 100%.


A-Level results at Burnham Grammar School are also impressive with 2 out of 3 A levels resulting in A*- B grades. 

 

Burnham Grammar School is exceptionally proud of the results they constantly see in maths, science, history, French, PE and business studies.

 

Destinations


Unfortunately, when it comes to official data provided by Burnham Grammar School, there is none available for destinations.


We can, however, see that the top 5 universities for year 13 leavers over the last five years from external data, these are shown below:



  • UCL
  • Warwick University
  • University of Nottingham
  • De Montfort University
  • University of Birmingham

 

Final Say


While some may be put off by the good rating in comparison to the other schools on our list, you really shouldn’t be. Burnham Grammar School is a consistent performer, and the school is undergoing some incredible changes over the next two years.

 

In Conclusion


Like we have mentioned previously, these reviews are here to hopefully help you decide on the best school for your children, and we are not here to advise on which is the best. We understand that every child has individual wants and needs, and this is where we can help.

Think Smart Academy has been working with students and helping give them the tools they need to gain entrance to these competitive schools. 


When it comes to grammar schools, you should never underestimate just how tough they can be to get into, and without the proper guidance, it can be even tougher. At Think Smart Academy, we understand what it takes to get into a grammar school, and we are here to make the journey as easy as possible for both you and your children. 

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