These are the top eight state primary schools in and around Wimbledon. They are all among the top 15% of schools in the country, as determined by the Schoolsmith Score. And five of them rank in the top 250 English state primaries. They are;
- Bishop Gilpin Church of England Primary School,
- Wimbledon Park Primary School,
- Dundonald Primary School,
- Hollymount School in Raynes Park,
- Merton Park Primary School,
- St Mary’s Catholic Primary School,
- Wimbledon Chase Primary School, and
- Cranmer Primary School in Mitcham
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 gradings. 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 same area; Wimbledon, Morden, Raynes Park and Mitcham. And that can be found here.
Age range, gender mix, and faith
All eight primary schools educate children from age 3 to 11. Which means that they have a nursery class in addition to a Reception class. Though please be aware that attendance at the nursery is no guarantee of a place in Reception.
They also provide access to out of hours care from 7.30/8.00am to 5.15/6.00pm. That care is usually provided onsite by external contractors, or a mix of school staff and contractors. But at Merton Park Primary, it’s the school staff who provide the before and after school care.
As far as gender mix goes, they are all co-educational, as indeed are almost all state primary schools.
Among the eight there are two church schools, one Catholic, one Church of England. Bishop Gilpin Church of England Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School are also Voluntary Aided schools. Which means that faith may have a role to play in the admissions policy. Though the other six are nominally secular community schools, they teach a mandatory RE curriculum.
In terms of admissions policy, please refer to the individual schools’ websites. All operate a catchment system.
But the faithful have some priority at the two church schools if Reception places are oversubscribed.
And oversubscribed they are. In fact, all eight of the schools are perennially oversubscribed on first preference applications for Reception places. Hollymount, Merton Park, Wimbledon Park, and Bishop Gilpin are four of the five most oversubscribed schools in the Merton Education Authority.
Inspectors like these schools too. According to their latest Ofsted reports four of them are Outstanding; Bishop Gilpin, Merton Park, Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Park.
For Hollymount School, St Mary’s Catholic, Dundonald Primary and Cranmer Primary, the inspection ratings were Good.
Buildings and grounds
Wimbledon primary schools typically occupy purpose-built facilities in residential areas. Some have a little more character. Cranmer Primary occupies a 1920s grammar school building, for example. And Dundonald Primary is based in a two-storey Victorian building. St Mary’s Catholic Primary is also based in a Victorian school building. But it is the setting of Wimbledon Chase Primary which stands out for its 1920s neo-Georgian school building and extensive grounds.
Class sizes and classes per year
These Wimbledon 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.
- 1 one-form entry school; Merton Park Primary School.
- 4 two-form entry schools; Bishop Gilpin CofE Primary School, Dundonald Primary School, Holly Mount School, and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.
- 3 three-form entry schools; Cranmer Primary School, Wimbledon Chase Primary School, and Wimbledon Park Primary School.
Class sizes at each school are typically 28-30 pupils.
Facilities at Wimbledon state primary schools
They all have some specialist facilities to support their curricula. For sport that includes tarmac playgrounds, and a school hall. Some have grass fields, some have a MUGA. Cranmer Primary, Wimbledon Chase Primary and Wimbledon Park Primary have the most varied sports facilities. They each have a gymnasium, MUGAs and grass pitches.
Beyond the multi-purpose hall, arts facilities are limited. Dundonald Primary, Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Park also have specialist music rooms. As for academic facilities there are libraries, environmental areas, and IT facilities, either as a computer suite or in-class devices.
Wimbledon Chase Primary also has Additionally Resourced Provision for pupils with Speech, Language and Communication difficulties.
All these schools teach a broad curriculum in line with the National Curriculum. And seven use a topic approach, particularly with the humanities subjects, to develop pupils’ enquiry skills. The exception is Wimbledon Park Primary, which teaches all subjects separately from Year 1. This ‘knowledge-based’ approach aims to develop higher order thinking skills within the subjects rather than by linking them.
The curricula at Dundonald Primary and Merton Park Primary are probably the most thematic. Termly themes relate to the rights of children, and the schools have been awarded UNICEF Rights Respecting School Gold accreditations.
The approach at Cranmer Primary is to connect subjects to a ‘storytelling’ series of topics. The school also teaches Philosophy for Children, another approach to developing enquiry skills.
The curricula at Bishop Gilpin and St Mary’s Catholic Primary 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.
Most of the schools include some element of outdoor learning in their curricula, particularly for their youngest pupils.
Modern languages are usually introduced from Year 3 in primary schools. However, Merton Park Primary and Wimbledon Park Primary teach French from Year 1.
Seven of the eight teach French as their foreign language, with Cranmer Primary teaching Spanish. After Year 6 exams Wimbledon Chase Primary also offers a taster in Spanish.
Each of the schools offers educational trips. Most also offer at least one residential trip. Bishop Gilpin, Dundonald, Hollymount and St Mary’s offer two from Year 4.
Sport at Wimbledon state primary schools
Each school teaches around 10 or 12 different sports. Bishop Gilpin, Hollymount School, St Mary’s Catholic Primary and Wimbledon Chase Primary offer the widest variety.
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 Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon Chase and Cranmer Primary to field the strongest teams.
None of the schools has a sustained track record for sporting achievement in national competitions.
The arts at Wimbledon 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.
The arts are a particular feature for Bishop Gilpin Primary. There are three choirs, four instrument ensembles, as well as a good number of after school arts clubs. Similarly, for Wimbledon Chase Primary.
Pupils at each of these Wimbledon primary schools benefit from some after-school and lunchtime activities. There are clubs for academic enrichment and hobbies, arts, and sport. Hollymount School, Wimbledon Chase and Wimbledon Park Primary have the widest programmes.
These Wimbledon primary schools also boast strong academic results. On a four-year average for attainment in Year 6 SATS, seven are in the top 14%, and five in the top 6% of schools in the UK. Specifically, Bishop Gilpin (top 2%), Dundonald (2%), Hollymount (3%), Wimbledon Chase (5%), Merton Park (6%), Wimbledon Park (7%), St Mary’s Catholic (14%). These four-year averages suggest the schools are consistently good, and not just scoring well one year for a particularly able year group.
It’s not just for attainment, but for pupil progress too. These Wimbledon primaries rank in the top 4-15% for progress over the same time period. Wimbledon Park Primary School is the highest ranked at 4%.
Choosing the best state primary school in Wimbledon
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 primary schools in the country. As I hope this note has shown, any one of them should be a preference. Five of these Wimbledon primary schools rank considerably higher. Dundonald Primary ranks in the top 250 primary schools in the country. Bishop Gilpin CofE Primary and Hollymount School in the top 120. Wimbledon Park Primary ranks in the top 30, and Wimbledon Chase Primary ranks 10th.
|Best Wimbledon primary schools
|Wimbledon Chase Primary School
|Wimbledon Park Primary School
|Bishop Gilpin Church of England Primary School
|Dundonald Primary School
|Merton Park Primary School
|St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
|Cranmer Primary School
Why are these the best state primary schools in Wimbledon?
Schools that feature in these notes are those with the highest Schoolsmith Scores, not just in Wimbledon, 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…