Traditionally, Oxford and Cambridge universities have favoured privately educated students – but that’s changing. Under pressure to boost diversity, both top-ranking institutions have increased their intake of state school-educated students in recent years – and London schools are at the forefront of this shift thanks to their excellent exam results.
The best state schools in London in 2022 for Oxford and Cambridge
A-levels results day: a nerve-wracking culmination of two years of intense study and hard work – and it all boils down to the contents of an envelope. Contained within are three letters that will dictate what a student does next with their life. Will they unlock the door to their university of choice? The tension is palpable.
A place at Oxford or Cambridge is the pinnacle – but anything less than three A grades won’t cut it. An impressive number of state school students punched the air in celebration after tearing open their envelopes in 2022 and revealing they had made the grade.
Here are some of the most successful state schools in London in terms of achieving Oxbridge places in 2022.
Harris Westminster Academy (36 places)
Harris Westminster Sixth Form is a selective co-educational sixth-form college in central London for students aged 16 to 18. It was established to improve the rate of entry to top universities among students from deprived socio-economic backgrounds.
Harris is built on a belief that, with the right opportunities, students from any background can succeed at the highest levels, both academically and in their future careers. Its academic successes are clear, both in terms of outstanding A-Level results and post-18 destinations, making it one of the highest-performing sixth forms in the UK.
School website: https://www.harriswestminstersixthform.org.uk/
Queen Elizabeth School (35 places)
This Ofsted-rated “outstanding” boys’ grammar school in Barnet, north London, has 449 years’ experience in producing confident, able, and responsible young men.
A memorable A-levels results day in 2022 saw the school celebrate its best-ever results, with seven out of every ten A-levels awarded the highest possible A* grade. This rounded off an impressive year for the school which earned an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted and won the Sunday Times’ coveted State Secondary School of the Year title.
School website: https://www.qebarnet.co.uk/
Wilson’s School (33 places)
This Ofsted-rated “outstanding” boys’ grammar school with academy status in the London Borough of Sutton can proudly claim to be one of the country’s most successful state-funded selective boys’ schools: in 2022 it climbed from 12th to third place in the top grammar schools list, with 87% of students achieving A or A* in their A-levels.
The school motto Non Sibi Sed Omnibus (not for oneself, but for all) drives an inclusive environment that extends beyond the confines of the National Curriculum and examinations. A firm belief that school life should be enjoyed presents opportunities for learning, alongside enriching experiences beyond the classroom.
School website: https://www.wilsons.school/
Camden School for Girls (20 places)
This comprehensive secondary school for girls, with a co-educational sixth form, in north London, achieved record high A-level results in 2022:
- A*: 27% (national 15%)
- A*- A: 55% (national 36%)
- A*- B: 82% (national 62%)
Its last Ofsted report stated: “Provision in the sixth form is outstanding. Because of excellent teaching, a stimulating curriculum, and their own positive attitudes to learning, students attain very high standards and make excellent progress in their achievement and personal development. Standards are consistently well above local and national averages and are improving year-on-year at the highest levels.”
School website: https://www.camdengirls.camden.sch.uk
Twyford CofE High School (10 places)
Twyford Church of England High School is a co-educational Academy school located in Acton, west London. The school has a roll of just under 1,600, including over 550 in the sixth form which offers a wide range of A-Levels as part of the Twyford CofE Academies Trust.
Most students from the sixth form progress to university, taking various routes including competitive courses such as Medicine and Engineering at Oxbridge and top Russell Group universities. In 2022, just under 60% of the school’s A-level exams were graded A*-A, 84% were A-*B and 94% A-*C.
School website: https://twyford.org.uk/
State schools no longer present barriers to further education. Select the right school for your child and they could find themselves rubbing shoulders with the academic elite at Oxford or Cambridge after their A-levels.