London state secondary school beats top private schools to be named among best in the country

Pupils in a school classroom (PA Wire)
Pupils in a school classroom (PA Wire)

A London state school has beaten most of the country’s top private schools to be named one of the best schools in the country.

Wilson’s School in Wallington, Sutton, was named the Sunday Times Parent Power Secondary School of the Year 2024, after achieving what is said to be the highest-ranking any state school has achieved in the 30-year history of the league table.

The boys’ grammar school was bested exam performance by just two other schools, both private girls’ schools - St Paul’s Girls’ School and Guildford High School.

Nathan Cole, Wilson’s headmaster, told the Times newspaper: “The students were forged in the horrors of Covid. These pupils were young during the pandemic but maintaining standards around welfare and academic lessons in the way we did benefited them.

“The school took delivery of the curriculum [online during lockdowns] very seriously.

“It may look hilarious when you see 170 boys doing exercises and games on Zoom at the same time, doing all sorts of things with socks and oranges, but it tells you there is something very wrong with the world.”

40 schools in the top 100 of the combined rankings for state and private schools were in the capital, cementing London’s place as the education powerhouse of the country.

More London stories - click above
More London stories - click above

Other top performing state schools in London include the Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, The Henrietta Barnett School, Hampstead Garden Suburb, St Olave’s Grammar School, Orpington and The Tiffin Girls’ School, Kingston.

Out of comprehensives in London, the St Thomas the Apostle College in Nunhead, Lady Margaret School in Parsons Green, and the Menorah High School for Girls in Neasden were also highly ranked.

Helen Davies, editor of Parent Power, said: “The educational landscape continues to be challenging across both the state and independent sectors, and this is the first true assessment of post-pandemic exam results.

“We believe these rankings – and all the additional information on offer in Parent Power – provide parents with a more reliable guide to academic achievement in schools today.

“The guide showcases academic excellence but also celebrates schools who may not be right at the top but are rising, innovating and helping pupils flourish."

The national database of over 1,000 schools by name, local authority, town and postcode, is available online from Friday and as a print supplement with The Sunday Times on Sunday.