The best schools in Cambridgeshire
Beyond its world-famous university, the county of Cambridgeshire is renowned for its many excellent primary, secondary and independent schools, colleges and academies.
We know what matters most to you is giving your children the very best chance to reach their potential – whether they’re primary school age or considering college.
Cambridgeshire, fortunately, rises to the task – and then some. Its abundance of brilliant schools is one of the many things that makes the country a perfect place to call home. Our developments at Kingley Grove in Melbourn, St James’ Park in Ely, and our soon-to-open Miller’s Gate in Soham all put you within easy reach of the county’s top schools.
But how to choose which school is right for your family?
Below, we’ve revealed the best schools in Cambridgeshire according to the government’s ratings, as well as the best secondary schools according to the Real School Guide, an annual publication of the best schools in the UK.
OFSTED ratings explained
OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) rank schools based on data gathered by OFSTED investigators, who award schools one of four ratings:
Grade 1 – Outstanding. Outstanding schools not only offer pupils the highest chance of achieving their full potential, they also prepare children for the next stage of their education or employment at the highest possible level.
Grade 2 – Good. Good schools provide well for the needs of their pupils and effectively prepare them for the next stage of their education or employment.
Grade 3 – Requires improvement. Such schools aren’t deemed inadequate, but neither are they thought to be satisfactory. Schools requiring improvement will be subject to another full inspection within two years to monitor progress.
Grade 4 – Inadequate. Inadequate schools exhibit significant weaknesses and are failing students in terms of achieving their best grades and in preparing them for the next step in their education.
Of Cambridgeshire’s 306 schools and colleges, 27 are rated as Outstanding, with the majority of the remainder rated as Good. You can see how Cambridgeshire’s schools rank here.
Please note, independent schools don’t fall under OFSTED’s remit.
Overall performance figures for Cambridgeshire schools
On the government’s schools comparison website, you can filter Cambridgeshire schools not only by their OFSTED rating but through other key variables, too.
For example, you can score primary schools by the percentage of pupils meeting an expected standard, which gives a top ten list of Cambridgeshire primary schools as follows:
- Fordham CofE Primary School
- Holme CofE Primary School
- St Anne’s CofE Primary School
- Ditton Lodge Primary School
- Histon and Impington Junior School
- Caldecote Primary School
- Dry Drayton CofE Primary School
- The Icknield Primary School
- Babraham CofE Primary School
- Girton Glebe Primary School
However, you can also rate schools according to how much they help children progress with their reading, writing and mathematics, or by the average score children achieve in these subjects.
The point is, judging the ‘best’ school isn’t a black-and-white exercise – the best option for your child might not be the best option for someone else’s.
Especially when you realise there are other rating systems out there…
Cambridgeshire’s best secondary schools according to The Real School Guide 2020
The Real School Guide is a comprehensive study taken every year to determine the best schools in each UK region and gathers information on over 34,000 UK schools.
The guide goes beyond more limited measurements used by national league tables and gives you a better idea of which schools will help your child do better.
The guide factors in such variables as how all pupils are progressing, attendance scores, the ratio of teachers to pupils, and how successful students are in going onto further education and securing jobs.
For more details on how the Real School Guide scores are calculated, go here.
In their 2020 guide, the top ten secondary schools in Cambridgeshire were as follows:
- Chesterton Community College
- St Bede’s Inter-Church School
- Comberton Village College
- Impington Village College
- Swavesey Village College
- Parkside community college
- Sawston Village College
- Sawtry Village Academy
- Soham Village College
- Linton Village College
The best Cambridgeshire schools based on A-level performance
Beyond primary and secondary schools, the government’s schools comparison website also ranks schools based on the performance of their A-level students. Again, there are a number of variables used to determine a school’s efficacy, so be sure to understand what’s important to you and your child before deciding which school suits you best.
Unlike with OFSTED ratings, these do include independent schools.
The top ten schools in Cambridgeshire for A-level results as determined by the progress each child made between the end of key stage 4 (GCSEs) and the end of their A-level studies are:
- Abbey College Cambridge
- Mander Portman Woodward
- Cambridge Arts and Sciences Sixth Form and Tutorial College
- King’s Ely
- The Leys School
- The Perse School
- Hills Road Sixth Form College
- St Andrew’s College Cambridge
- St Mary’s School
- Cromwell Community College
To compare schools according to the variable most important to you, please visit the government’s comparison website here.
We know your ideal home goes beyond just your address. It should be part of a welcoming community, with everything you need close by. And with its array of excellent schools staffed by dedicated teachers, Cambridgeshire gives you perhaps the most important thing of all – the promise of a great start in life for your children.
And if you’re considering a new home for your family along with a new school for your children, take a look on our website. We have a range of beautiful Cambridgeshire properties for you to call home, including St James’ Park, based in Ely, a town ranked one of the best places to live in the UK, according to the illustrious Sunday Times 2021 rankings.