Revealed, schools at top of table
AUNIQUE combination of data has been used by our sister paper, the M.E.N., to reveal the top secondary schools in Greater Manchester.
The most up-to-date statistics across the region have been used to provide a full picture about exactly how well schools perform – and not just in their exam results.
Data is available for comparison on everything from pupils’ attainment and the quality of teaching to when a school was last inspected and its teacher-to-pupil ratio.
Unsurprisingly, Trafford’s grammar schools dominate the rankings.
And this year Sale Grammar School is revealed as the best statefunded secondary in the whole of Greater Manchester – knocking its neighbours in Altrincham off the number one spot.
Leaders at Sale pride themselves in nurturing students to become wellrounded individuals.
The co-educational secondary has a visual arts specialist status, while also striving for excellent academic results.
Mark Smallwood, who has been head for eight years, said: “Our ranking reflects the hard work of our dedicated staff and fantastic students who we get to work with.”
Mr Smallwood said his school aims to have the perfect balance between ‘tradition and innovation’.
The school and sixth form was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2006, winning praise from inspectors for its arts specialism ‘permeating’ through school life. Teaching was said to be effective, with students responding keenly to the ‘high levels’ of challenge.
An interim visit from Ofsted in 2010 found the school’s high standards had been upheld.
Pupils here enjoy extracurricular success too, both in the arts and sport.
Highlights from this academic year include the under-15 girls storming to victory at the national handball championships, and the year eight and 10 boys’ football teams winning their finals, becoming Trafford League Champions.
Loreto Grammar also comes out as a winner in Trafford. The all-girls Catholic secondary prides itself in nurturing pupils to become well-rounded members of society. “Our school is about having the freedom to be your best self,” explains head Jane Beever.
The best school in the Manchester council area is King David High School, which gets top marks for the standard of education it has maintained for the past 20 years.
The 800-plus pupil Jewish secondary, on Eaton Road in Crumpsall, was in fact once a failing school. But new leadership in the mid-90s signalled a turning point. Results and standards dramatically improved, ultimately sealing its reputation as one of the best state-funded secondaries in the country.
King David still tops the national tables for its GCSE results and in 2016 it was rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
St Patrick’s RC High came out top in Salford for pushing pupils beyond expectations. The Eccles secondary tops Salford for the fourth year running.
The school has an excellent academic record, but it is the progress pupils make that teachers are most proud of. Their ‘Progress 8’ score is above the national average, meaning pupils make leaps in their learning from when they arrive aged 11.
The school, made up of around 900 pupils, was awarded Arts College Specialist Status in 2003 and was rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2004. An interim visit found the school’s impressive standards were being upheld.
Cheadle Hulme High School’s ‘unashamedly academic’ ethos is to thank for its success. The outstanding secondary is not only the best in Stockport, but also the most in demand. With results consistently above the national average, places have been oversubscribed for years. It was in the top three per cent of schools nationally for the ‘Progress 8’ measure, and 40 per cent of exam results last summer were graded a 7/A or above.
A failing school pulled from ‘rock bottom’ to outstanding in six years has emerged as the best school in Tameside.
St Damian’s RC Science College in Ashton had been placed in special measures.
Headteacher Sheldon Logue took over in 2012, when the school was ‘on its knees’ – but he effected a ‘complete change in culture.’
By 2018 St Damian’s topped the Real Schools Guide. ●● LARGEST DISPLAY IN THE AREA
Sale Grammar School head Mark Smallwood