Sunday Times schools guide names 11 best Manchester secondary schools in Parent Power 2023 table in North West

Manchester schools come top of the class in the Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 Guide to both the best independent and secondary schools.

The best North West state and independent secondary schools are based in Greater Manchester, according to the Sunday Times Schools Guide 2023.

The Parent Power guide, published online from today, names Altrincham Grammar School for Girls as its top state school for secondary pupils - followed by Altrincham Grammar School for Boys in second place. And Greater Manchester state schools dominate this year’s rankings with six in the top 10 for state schools.

Sale Grammar School comes in at fourth in the North West, Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham at fifth, St Ambrose College in Altrincham at sixth, and Stretford Grammar School at ninth. The other schools in the North West top 10 states are The Blue Coat School, Liverpool; Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School; Wirral Grammar School for Girls and Clitheroe Royal Grammar School.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls has also been named The Sunday Times Northwest Secondary School of the Year and moves into fifth place in the national rankings.

Stephanie Gill, the head teacher there, 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 extra-curricular 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.”

Meanwhile Manchester also puts in a strong show in the rankings for best independent secondary schools in the North West. Withington Girls’ School came top in the North West and 21st nationally in the 2023 guide, followed by The Manchester Grammar School in second and Manchester High School for Girls in third. Stockport Grammar School was fifth, Bolton School Girls’ Division in ninth and Cheadle Hulme School in tenth.

Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Credit Google
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Credit Google
Altrincham Grammar School for Girls Credit Google

The remaining independent schools in the top 10 were: The King’s School, Chester; The Grange School Northwich; The Queen’s School in Chester and The King’s School in Macclesfield.

Withington Girls’ School has won The Sunday Times Northwest Independent School of the Year in the northwest award. The fees at the 700-pupil school are £14,622 a year.

The Sunday Times’ Parent Power guide uses data from the latest exam results to help draw together its league tables. The rankings in the secondary school league tables are determined 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.

Helen Davies, editor of The Sunday Times Parent Power guide, says: “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, and Parent Power and The Sunday Times is here to help.”

You can search the full results on its website (subscription needed) or see this Sunday’s newspaper.