Top 5 schools in Essex

As our team spends more and more time in Essex, developing some of our favourite new locations, the area continually — and very pleasantly — surprises us. It’s an absolute treasure trove of natural beauty, rich British heritage and thriving community.

A few miles from this spectacular area, you’ll find the equally beautiful Hopkins Homes community of River Reach in Mistley, Chitts Hill in Colchester and Bergholt Place in West Bergholt.

And if you’re itching for a little salty sea air, you can discover more beautifully crafted Hopkins homes in Brightlingsea at our Colne Meadow development.

However, if you’re considering a home in Essex, you might be even more interested in its future than its past. In particular, the best schools available for your young (and not so young) learners.

We’re going to take you through the best schools in Essex, primary, secondary and SEN according to Ofsted reports.


Scenic View Of Mistley In Essex

Top 5 Primary Schools in Essex

1. Canvey Junior School

Located in Canvey Island, Essex, this junior school is known for its commitment to providing a stimulating and caring environment where children can thrive. It places a strong emphasis on both academic and personal development.

Key Features:

  • Focus on the holistic development of students
  • Broad and balanced curriculum
  • Range of extracurricular activities and clubs
  • Emphasis on fostering a positive and inclusive school community

2. Quilters Junior School

Situated in Billericay, Essex, Quilters Junior School is recognised for its nurturing environment and high academic standards. The school aims to develop confident and independent learners.

Key Features:

  • High academic expectations
  • Supportive and nurturing learning environment
  • Focus on developing independence and confidence
  • Wide variety of extracurricular opportunities

3. Katherine Semar Junior School

Based in Saffron Walden, Essex, this school is known for its vibrant and dynamic learning environment. It focuses on encouraging creativity and curiosity among its students.

Key Features:

  • Emphasis on creative and engaging learning
  • Broad curriculum with a variety of subjects
  • Strong focus on student welfare and happiness
  • Wide range of clubs and extracurricular activities

4. Kingston Primary School

Located in Kingston upon Thames, this primary school is noted for its inclusive ethos and its commitment to providing a broad and balanced education. It aims to foster a love of learning in a supportive environment.

Key Features:

  • Inclusive and supportive school culture
  • Broad and balanced curriculum
  • Emphasis on nurturing a love for learning
  • Range of extracurricular and enrichment activities

5. Lee Chapel Primary School

This primary school, situated in Basildon, Essex, is known for its high standards and its focus on individual pupil achievement. It offers a wide range of learning experiences to cater to diverse needs.

Key Features:

  • High expectations for student achievement
  • Focus on individual pupil progress
  • A broad range of learning experiences
  • Strong emphasis on values and community involvement
A windmill in Essex

Top 5 Secondary Schools in Essex

1. Colchester County High School for Girls

This is a selective grammar school in Colchester, known for its academic excellence. It offers a broad curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular activities, within a supportive and ambitious environment.

Key Features:

  • High academic standards and selective entry
  • Broad curriculum with a strong focus on STEM subjects
  • Wide range of extracurricular activities
  • Emphasis on developing leadership and independent thinking

2. Westcliff High School for Boys

Located in Westcliff-on-Sea, this is a selective grammar school known for its strong academic record and emphasis on all-around development. It offers a diverse curriculum and numerous extracurricular opportunities.

Key Features:

  • Selective grammar school with high academic expectations
  • Strong focus on holistic education
  • A wide variety of sports, clubs, and societies
  • Emphasis on character development and leadership

3. Chelmsford County High School for Girls

This highly selective grammar school in Chelmsford is renowned for its exceptional academic achievements. It provides a stimulating environment that encourages intellectual curiosity and independent thought.

Key Features:

  • Highly selective and academically rigorous
  • Diverse and challenging curriculum
  • Strong emphasis on intellectual curiosity and independent learning
  • Wide range of extracurricular activities and enrichment programs

4. King Edward VI Grammar School (Chelmsford)

Known as KEGS, this selective grammar school in Chelmsford has a long history of academic excellence. It offers a broad education with a strong emphasis on developing analytical and independent thinking skills.

Key Features:

  • Selective entry with a focus on high academic standards
  • Broad and balanced curriculum
  • Strong emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • A wide array of extracurricular activities, including arts, sports, and clubs

5. Westcliff High School for Girls

Also located in Westcliff-on-Sea, this selective grammar school is known for its nurturing environment and academic success. It aims to provide a well-rounded education, fostering both personal and intellectual growth.

Key Features:

  • Selective grammar school with a focus on academic achievement
  • Supportive learning environment
  • Broad curriculum with a wide range of subjects
  • Emphasis on personal development and extracurricular engagement
The High Street, Colchester, Essex, England, UK

Top 5 SEN Schools in Essex

1. Shorefields School

Located in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, Shorefields School caters to students with a wide range of special educational needs. The school is dedicated to providing a supportive and nurturing environment.

Key Features:

  • Specialises in special educational needs
  • Individualised learning approaches
  • Focus on developing life skills and independence
  • A supportive, nurturing environment

2. The Pioneer School

Based in Basildon, Essex, The Pioneer School is a special school catering to pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties. The school is committed to providing a stimulating and inclusive learning environment.

Key Features:

  • Caters to severe and complex learning difficulties
  • Stimulating and inclusive learning environment
  • Emphasis on communication and sensory needs
  • Range of therapeutic and specialist support

3. Thriftwood School

Situated in Chelmsford, Essex, Thriftwood School offers education for pupils with moderate learning difficulties and additional complex needs. The school focuses on providing a balanced and relevant curriculum.

Key Features:

  • Focus on moderate learning difficulties
  • Balanced and relevant curriculum
  • Emphasis on personal development and independence
  • Wide range of extracurricular and enrichment activities

4. Columbus School and College

Located in Chelmsford, Essex, this institution caters to a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities. Columbus School and College is known for its personalised learning strategies and its focus on life skills.

Key Features:

  • A wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities catered for
  • Personalised learning strategies
  • Focus on life skills and independence
  • Strong emphasis on holistic development

5. Glenwood School

Based in Benfleet, Essex, Glenwood School caters to pupils with severe learning difficulties. The school aims to provide a stimulating and caring environment where students can achieve their full potential.

Key Features:

  • Specialises in severe learning difficulties
  • Stimulating and caring learning environment
  • Focus on individual potential and achievement
  • Range of therapeutic and specialist support
A Church In Essex


How do "Good" rated schools compare to "Outstanding" rated schools in Essex?

In Essex, schools with a “Good” rating are definitely holding their own. They’re meeting important educational standards, and kids are getting a solid education. But, when you step up to the “Outstanding” schools, you’re entering a different league.

These schools are nailing it across the board – think innovative teaching, strong student support, and often a wider range of activities and resources. They’re not just doing well; they’re setting the bar.

Which secondary schools in Essex are ranked best based on A-level results?

When it comes to A-levels, some schools in Essex are really shining.

Top performers often include schools like Colchester Royal Grammar School and Chelmsford County High School for Girls, known for their high academic standards.

Westcliff High School for Boys and Southend High School for Girls also often make the list. But keep in mind that these rankings can change from year to year.

Is Essex a suitable place for children?

Definitely. Essex is a pretty cool place for kids. It’s got a mix of urban and rural areas, so there’s a variety of environments to explore.

The schools are good, and there are plenty of parks and activities for kids of all ages. Plus, it’s known to be a safe area with a friendly community vibe, which is always a big plus for families.

Take a look at our guide on what there is to do in Essex here.

Is Essex a desirable area to live in?

Essex has a lot to offer and is quite a desirable place to live. It’s got a bit of everything – from bustling towns to peaceful countryside.

There’s a strong sense of community in many areas, and it’s well-connected to London, making it ideal for commuters. Plus, the county has a rich history and plenty of cultural attractions. It’s popular with both families and professionals for these reasons.

Take a look at our top places to live in Essex guide.

Are private schools superior to grammar schools in Essex?

This is a bit subjective and depends on what you’re looking for. Private schools in Essex, like elsewhere, often boast impressive facilities, smaller class sizes, and a wide range of extracurriculars.

Grammar schools, on the other hand, are selective and generally have a strong focus on academic achievement. They often have excellent track records in exams and getting students into top universities.