What Are Grammar Schools and How Do They Differ to Comprehensives?

Selecting the direction of your children’s education is one of the most significant decisions you can make as a parent. However, the British educational system is today incredibly complex to navigate for students and their parents and choosing the correct track within this system can effectively decide a child’s career and future prospects. There is currently a great deal of debate about whether students should attend a grammar school or a comprehensive school after they complete primary school.

The Traditional Schooling Difference

While this is a momentous decision for parents, there is growing evidence that suggests grammar schools offer the most effective educational grounding that allows students to pursue higher education and more lucrative professional opportunities. Introduced in the 1940s, grammar schools tested children at the age of eleven and admitted the most proficient students into the grammar school track that focused on secondary education for the purpose of sending students to universities, as opposed to vocational or trade schools.

In the later 1950s and 1960s, comprehensive schools were introduced to the public school system, which offered students a more generalized education. While comprehensive schools offered a more egalitarian education, grammar schools have historically produced students with consistently strong exam results that translated into higher university admission and graduation rates.

The Benefits of a Grammar School Education

Grammar schools, because of their specialized focus towards preparing students for a university track, are a better choice for children who are interested in pursuing a higher education. Because grammar schools have entrance exams, students are surrounded by peers that are at the same level, and furthermore, because of testing requirements, grammar schools provide opportunities for gifted students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to receive the most competitive education. Grammar schools teach critical thinking skills and focus on a curriculum that is strong in both maths and sciences, as well as writing; unlike comprehensive schools that are forced to cater to a wider range of educational focuses. Grammar schools most effectively prepare students to place highly on university entrance exams and give students the tools to study effectively in that environment.

Choosing the Right Grammar School

It is clear that a grammar school track is the best decision for your child if you want to encourage them to pursue a professional career and university level education. The next most important decision is selecting the correct grammar school for your child. There are many different grammar schools that offer secondary education, but the most competitive schools will offer your child an education that is centreed towards excellent test results but also a holistic experience. One such school that consistently achieves excellent test results while offering students a values-driven educational experience is Long Close School, an independent grammar school Slough.


Ultimately, the choice of a grammar school or a comprehensive school is a weighty one, considering such a decision can either increase or decrease your children’s professional opportunities later in life. However, it is clear that a grammar school education is the most focused and intellectually inclusive. A grammar school education will enable your child to grow personally, intellectually, and socially in a way no other school can.

This is a collaborative post.

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