These are the top eleven state primary schools in and around Maidenhead. They are all among the top 15% of schools in the country, as determined by the Schoolsmith Score. And six of them rank in the top 250 English state primaries, with two in the top 50. Maidenhead is a good area for high performing state primary schools. They are;
- Danesfield School in Medmenham,
- Spinfield School in Marlow,
- Burford School in Marlow Bottom,
- Cookham Dean Church of England Primary School,
- Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Cookham,
- St Nicolas’ Church of England Combined School in Taplow,
- Oldfield Primary School in Maidenhead,
- Furze Platt Junior School in Maidenhead,
- St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School in Maidenhead,
- Lowbrook Academy in Cox Green, and
- White Waltham Church of England Academy.
As you can see, the area reviewed centres on Maidenhead but extends to neighbouring towns and villages. The Maidenhead schools and those in the villages such as White Waltham to the south-west, Taplow to the west, and Cookham Dean to the north are all within 4 miles of the centre of Maidenhead. The Medmenham and Marlow schools to the north are a little further, and within 3 miles of Marlow.
The differences between primary schools are less obvious than prep schools, and deliberately so. State education is designed such that all children should receive the same curriculum irrespective of where they are taught, and who is teaching them. So, to differentiate, parents have traditionally looked to SATS results and Ofsted ratings. Beyond that, there is also a commonly held belief that Church schools are ‘better’ schools. That’s pretty much it. Hopefully, this comparison might shed a little more light.
There is also a partner review for prep schools in the Maidenhead area. And that can be found here (soon).
Age range, gender mix, and faith
Ten schools have a Reception class. Furze Platt Junior starts at Year 3, though it shares a site with Furze Platt Infants’ School.
- Danesfield School; 3 to 11 years,
- Spinfield School; 4 to 11 years,
- Burford School; 3 to 11 years,
- Cookham Dean CofE Primary School; 5 to 11 years,
- Holy Trinity CofE Primary School; 5 to 11 years,
- St Nicolas’ CofE Combined School; 4 to 11 years,
- Oldfield Primary School; 5 to 11 years,
- Furze Platt Junior School; 7 to 11 years,
- St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School; 3 to 11 years,
- Lowbrook Academy; 5 to 11 years,
- White Waltham CofE Academy; 5 to 11 years.
St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary, Danesfield School, and Burford School also have a nursery class for children from age 3. Though please be aware that attendance at the nursery is no guarantee of a place in Reception.
All eleven schools provide access to out of hours care from 7.30/8.00am to 5.00/6.30pm. Care is usually onsite and provided by external contractors. White Waltham CofE Academy is the only school to provide wraparound care with its own staff.
As far as gender mix goes, they are all co-educational, as indeed are almost all state primary schools.
Of the eleven, five are church schools, four Church of England, and one Catholic. Three of them are or were Voluntary Aided schools. Which means that faith may have a role to play in the admissions policy. These are Cookham Dean CofE Primary, St Nicolas’ CofE Combined School, and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary.
The other six schools are not quite secular, they still have a mandatory RE curriculum.
Four of the schools are academies. Academies have a little more flexibility over their teaching day and curriculum. Members of multi-academy trusts can also have access to the specialised teaching and resources within the trust. Lowbrook Primary and St Nicolas’ CofE Combined are single academy trusts. St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary and White Waltham CofE Academy are members of (small) multi-academy trusts.
In terms of admissions policy, please refer to the individual schools’ websites. All operate a catchment system.
The seven schools on the right bank of the Thames (Maidenhead and Cookham) are in Berkshire and within the Windsor and Maidenhead Education Authority. The three Medmenham and Marlow schools are in Buckinghamshire and are within the Buckinghamshire Education Authority. St Nicolas’ CofE Combined School is in Berkshire, but as a ‘left bank’ school is in the Buckinghamshire Education Authority.
And Buckinghamshire has some selective state secondary schools.
Either way, the faithful have some priority at the three voluntary aided church schools if they are oversubscribed for Reception places. It just so happens that seven of these Maidenhead state primary schools are at regularly oversubscribed. They are;
- Cookham Dean CofE Primary (in the Windsor & Maidenhead Education Authority (WM)),
- Danesfield School (in the Buckinghamshire Education Authority),
- Holy Trinity CofE Primary (WM),
- Lowbrook Academy (WM),
- Oldfield Primary (WM),
- St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary (WM), and
- White Waltham CofE Academy (WM).
Furthermore, Oldfield Primary and Lowbrook Academy are two of the five most oversubscribed schools in the Windsor and Maidenhead Education Authority.
Parents like these schools. And so do Ofsted inspectors.
They judge three of these schools to be Outstanding, according to their latest inspections. They are Danesfield School, Furze Platt Junior and Oldfield Primary.
Seven are rated as Good. St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary was also Good, until it was downgraded to Requires Improvement in its 2023 inspection for safeguarding issues.
Buildings and grounds
Grounds aren’t extensive, but enough at each school to provide adequate outdoor space for recreation and sport. The schools are typically located on rural village lanes, or quiet suburban residential roads.
As for architecture, expect a range of purpose-built facilities. There’s the Victorian school house with modern enhancements at White Waltham CofE Academy and Holy Trinity CofE Primary. There’s a 1930s schoolhouse at Cookham Dean CofE Primary. And contemporary new-builds at Oldfield Primary (2015) and St Nicholas CofE Combined (2005). Otherwise expect low-rise 1960s and 1970s facilities with more recent additions.
Class sizes and classes per year
These Maidenhead primary schools vary in size from one-form entry to three-form entry. Size can affect the look and feel of a school. And larger schools tend to have more facilities, though not necessarily in proportion to the number of pupils.
- 5 one-form entry schools; Cookham Dean CofE Primary, Holy Trinity CofE Primary, St Nicolas’ CofE Combined School, White Waltham CofE Academy, and Spinfield School.
- 5 two-form entry schools; Burford School, Danesfield School, Lowbrook Academy, Oldfield Primary, and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary.
- 1 three-form entry school; Furze Platt Junior.
Class sizes at each school are on average 28-30 pupils.
Facilities at Maidenhead state primary schools
They all have more specialist facilities to support their curricula than most UK primary schools. For sport that includes a grass sports field, tarmac or MUGA playgrounds and pitches, and a school hall. There’s a heated outdoor pool at St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary. But, by and large, the variety of sports facilities is similar.
Beyond the multi-purpose hall, however, arts facilities are fairly limited. Danesfield School has a music room, Lowbrook Academy has an art room. Burford School and Spinfield School have both.
As for academic facilities there are libraries, environmental areas, and IT facilities, either as a computer suite or in-class devices at each school. There’s also a home economics room at White Waltham CofE Academy.
The range of academic facilities is widest at Burford School, Danesfield School, Furze Platt Junior, Lowbrook Academy, Oldfield Primary and Spinfield School. Especially Danesfield School. It has a science block, a ubiquitous application of technology, Microsoft Training Academy status, a ‘21st Century’ classroom, as well as outdoor learning facilities.
Furze Platt Junior also has an Additional Resource Provision for pupils with Autism.
Parents play an important role
It’s often said that what makes pupils successful is the support of their parents. Not the style of school, its structure, or methods, but the parents. However true that is, the best primary schools in Maidenhead have unusually proactive parental support.
For sure this is a relatively wealthy area. Nonetheless, parental support is often reflected in the activities and fundraising of the Parent Teacher Associations. In particular at St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary where the PTA raises over £20k per year to enhance the opportunities for pupils.
All these schools teach a broad curriculum in line with the National Curriculum. Most of them teach subjects separately, linking some subjects to a common half-termly theme or ‘topic’. They do this to stimulate higher order thinking, especially to develop ‘skills’ in cross-curricular project work.
The most common subjects to link are history and geography through a humanities topic. Burford School, Cookham Dean CofE Primary, Lowbrook Academy, Spinfield School and White Waltham CofE Academy, go much further. They link history, geography, English reading and creative writing, art, DT, and sometimes science and computing.
A different approach is taken at Danesfield School, Furze Platt Junior and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary. Theirs are more ‘knowledge rich’, championing knowledge acquisition and skill development within the subjects. They do this by being ‘enquiry-led’, stimulating curiosity as the driver of learning.
Some schools bring other elements to their curricula. For example, Spinfield School has an international flavour to its curriculum and has a British Council International School Award to show for it. Burford School has emphasised science and STEM for over eight years. And St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary was an early adopter of environmental education.
Most of the schools include some element of outdoor learning in their curricula, particularly for their youngest pupils. But it is most significant at Danesfield School and Spinfield School where every child participates in Forest School and, at Danesfield, Farm School.
The curricula at the five church schools emphasise Christian/Catholic social morality. Particularly in lessons such as PSHE and Citizenship, and in assemblies. RE, naturally, plays a prominent role in the curriculum as a core subject along with English and maths. And there is usually daily worship.
Maidenhead state primary schools offer a choice of modern languages. In most cases that language is French from Year 3. Holy Trinity CofE Primary teaches two years of French then two years of German.
Danesfield School and Cookham Dean CofE Primary, alternatively, teach Spanish from Year 3. And Lowbrook Academy and Oldfield Primary teach Mandarin from Year 1.
Each of the schools offers educational trips and visiting speakers. Most also offer at least one residential trip for older pupils.
Sport at Maidenhead state primary schools
Each school teaches between 10 and 15 different sports. Danesfield School and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary teaching the widest variety. Oldfield Primary’s commitment to sport has been recognised with a series of Schools Games Mark Gold and Platinum accreditations.
The size of the primary school, in terms of number of pupils, has a bearing on the strength of their sports teams. The idea being that larger schools have a larger pool to select from. In which case we should expect Furze Platt Junior to field the strongest teams.
None of the schools has a sustained track record for sporting achievement in national competitions.
The arts at Maidenhead state primary schools
The schools all promote engagement with the arts on an individual and ensemble basis. For example, there is art, a choir, instrument learning, and dramatic performances at each school.
Arts provision is probably best at White Waltham CofE Academy, St Nicolas’ CofE Combined School, Spinfield School, Danesfield School, and Oldfield Primary. They offer more in and out of the classroom. Holy Trinity CofE Primary is committing to improve its offer through Artsmark accreditation.
Pupils at each of these Maidenhead primary schools benefit from some after-school and lunchtime activities. There are clubs for academic enrichment and hobbies, arts, and sport. Danesfield School, Oldfield Primary and Spinfield School have the widest programmes.
All eleven of the Maidenhead primary schools regularly achieve above average academic results. On a four-year average for attainment in Year 6 SATS, they are all in the 30% of UK schools. Seven of them are in the top 8%. Collectively, these are consistently high performing schools, not just scoring well in one year for a particularly able year group.
Of particular note is Lowbrook Academy, which is in the top 0.1% nationally. In other words, it is, on average, one of the top 20-25 schools. Spinfield School is in the top 3%. Danesfield School, Holy Trinity CofE Primary, and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary are in the top 4%. Oldfield Primary is in the top 6% and Cookham Dean CofE Primary is in the top 8%.
Pupil progress results, by the same measure, are more variable. Lowbrook Academy, again, ranks in the top 3% nationally. St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary ranks in the top 6% nationally, and Holy Trinity CofE Primary ranks in the top 9%. Danesfield School is in the top 11% and Oldfield Primary is in the top 14%.
Choosing the best state primary school in Maidenhead
The freedom to choose a state school is somewhat limited as applicants need to live within the school’s catchment area. But there may be a choice of more than one. Most Education Authorities offer the opportunity to select preferred schools, albeit from a limited list.
These schools are all among the top 15% best state primary schools in the country. As I hope this note has shown, any one of them should be a preference.
Six of these Maidenhead primary schools rank considerably higher. Spinfield School, for example, ranks in the top 250 nationally. As do Holy Trinity CofE Primary and St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary. Oldfield Primary ranks in the top 150 and Lowbrook Academy in the top 50. Danesfield School tops the Maidenhead state primaries, ranking 10th nationally.
|Best Maidenhead primary schools
|Oldfield Primary School
|Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School
|St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School
|Furze Platt Junior School
|Cookham Dean Church of England Primary School
|White Waltham Church of England Academy
|St Nicolas’ Church of England Combined School
See also the best state primary schools in Reading, Henley, High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross, Uxbridge, Wokingham and Bracknell
Why are these the best state primary schools in Maidenhead?
Schools that feature in these notes are those with the highest Schoolsmith Scores, not just in Maidenhead, but nationwide. The Schoolsmith Score is an objective score that accounts for 50 different aspects of schooling, grouped into 5 broad categories. You can read more about them from the links below, and the Schoolsmith Score here.
- their achievements; academic, sporting and artistic,
- the breadth of the education they offer,
- the quality of teaching,
- their facilities,
- their look and feel.
Need more help?
By now you might be wondering what you should be thinking about when choosing a school? It happens to everyone. Why not try my 7 one minute quizzes for those starting their school search? Wood, trees, and all that…