Guide to the Best Schools in Hampshire

Guide to the Best Schools in Hampshire

Hampshire is an ideal place to call home.

To the south of the county, you have plenty of coastal areas to choose from and to the north, there is a multitude of rural areas.

Not only does it manage to offer plenty of locations in which to live, but it also scores highly on the education front.

Hampshire offers a variety of excellent schooling opportunities for families on the move with school-age children, from early childhood in nurseries to higher education at the university level.

Many schools in the county are outperforming others across the UK.

Whether you are planning to send your child to a state or private school, or your child has more specialised education requirements, Hampshire can provide it.

Some schools stand out for their exceptional performance, providing high-quality education with outstanding academic results and exceptional student support.

This article takes a closer look at some of the premier educational institutions within the county.

Hampshire County Council (HCC)

For anyone moving to a new home with children anywhere in the county, HCC is going to be your first port of call.

Their comprehensive website is where you can find all the relevant information you need.

This includes details regarding the admissions process and when you can apply for a school place.

Finding a school is easy and you can narrow your search once you know which area you will be relocating to.

All of Hampshire’s state schools are listed, along with their catchment area and you can also investigate how well local schools perform.

Choosing a Good School

Schools in Hampshire

There are plenty of excellent schools in Hampshire Image credit: Pexels

Choosing the right school for your child can be a difficult decision for parents.

It is no secret that securing a place in one of the top-rated schools is highly challenging.

Many schools with excellent reputations are inundated with applications.

This makes it even more challenging for parents to secure a place for their children.

It would be impossible to list every school in our article!

There are simply too many highly-rated schools in the county.

To help you make an informed decision, we have provided some background on a selection of schools,

We have included four primary and four secondary Ofsted “outstanding” schools from the county.

We have also included a link to each school’s most recent Ofsted Inspection Report.

Hopefully, we can provide you with a comprehensive overview of each school’s performance.

Top Four Primary Schools

Hampshire Primary Schools

Hampshire Primary Schools. Image credit: Unsplash

1. Bitterne Manor Primary School – Southampton

This school is located on the outskirts of the city of Southampton, along the south coast.

A mixed primary school educating 234 children between the ages of 3-11 years

The school’s latest Ofsted inspection was in November 2022. 

It was reported that “This is a school where pupils are safe, happy, and well cared for. They are proud of their school and its inclusive practice”

“Standards of behaviour are high. Pupils play well together and are kind to each other”

As well as being rated as an outstanding school, pupils also exceeded the averages in reading and maths for the county and the UK as a whole.

2. Hook Junior School – Hook

Hook is a large village and civil parish in the Hart District of northern Hampshire. It is situated 6.2 miles east of Basingstoke.

In high demand locally, Hook Junior provides top-notch education for boys and girls aged between 7-11 years.

Most recently inspected in June 2023, it has been judged as “outstanding” two years in a row.

This is another of Hampshire’s schools that manages to out-strip UK averages regarding exam results.

Ofsted’s report noted that “Pupils behave impeccably. They are highly motivated to make positive choices.

Across the school, pupils achieve very highly. They acquire the knowledge and vocabulary that they need to succeed.”

3. Our Lady & St Joseph Catholic Primary School – New Forest

Sitting amid the beauty of the New Forest National Park in the affluent town of Lymington, St Joseph is a religiously affiliated school teaching children between the ages of 4-11 years.

A small school with a pupil roll of around 100 it has a fantastic track record.

Ofsted has rated it “outstanding” across the board when it was last inspected in 2022.

Historically, when the school was inspected in 2014, it was disappointingly given a “requires Improvement” grade. However, since then it has gone from strength to strength.

In 2016 it had improved and was deemed “good” and by November 2022, it managed to attain the coveted “outstanding” rating, no mean feat.

Ofsted’s glowing report noted that “This school is a place of harmony. Behaviour and learning are exceptional. Pupils are extremely happy and highly focused. Leaders make sure that all pupils, and especially the most disadvantaged, consistently benefit from the superb opportunities that the school provides”

4. Overton Church of England Primary School – Basingstoke

Basingstoke is prime commuter territory and attracts plenty of people who want to live outside the city but have easy access to it when necessary.

The small village of Overton sits a quick 15-minute journey west of Basingstoke.

Catering for boys and girls aged 4-11 Overton Primary has around 400 pupils.

A Church of England school, with the head teacher stating “it is run with traditional Christian values of Love, Hope and Faith, where everyone is nurtured and challenged to be the best they can be”.

This school is intricately linked to the local community.

It holds regular events for locals to get involved with such as its annual sports day, fete and Harvest Festival.

The school is due for a new inspection soon.

However, when it was last inspected, Ofsted gave it an incredibly positive report

Among the many positive comments made about the school, Ofsted noted. “Both teaching and achievement was outstanding, pupils leave Overton with attainment that is well above average, and pupils behave extremely well and thoroughly enjoy coming to school”.

Progressing to Secondary School

Secondary Schools in Hampshire

There are plenty of choices when it comes to secondary schools in Hampshire. Image credit: Pixabay

Primary education lays the foundation for a child’s academic journey.

You will want to ensure that when the time comes and secondary school is on the horizon you also get it right, and not just the academics of the school.

Secondary schools typically boast larger campuses and student populations compared to their primary counterparts.

Additionally, it takes a little time to get used to the change in how the school day is organised and how subjects are taught.

In Hampshire, anxious parents can take comfort in the knowledge that there is an abundance of fantastic schools that cater to the 11-18 age group.

Here again, are just four of the highest Ofsted-rated schools in the Hampshire region.

1. Westgate School – Winchester

Westgate has a reputation for excellence. An all-through school for boys and girls between the ages of 4-16 years.

There are distinct advantages to all through schools.

Children stay settled without having to make the huge emotional leap to secondary school Teachers can get to know your child from the early years to the teenage stage and there is no stressful application process.

Westgate is of course an Ofsted “outstanding” school.

Plus, the GCSE results confirm this worthy accolade.

43% of all pupil grades were Grade 7 or above; 25% of grades were Grade 8 or 9, and 10% of all grades were Grade 9. 91.3% of pupils achieved Grade 4 or above in English and Mathematics, of which 80% achieved Grade 5 or above.

Listed as one of the top 50 state schools in the UK and coming in 9th on the Times top 50 schools in 2024, places for this school are in high demand.

2. The Petersfield School – Petersfield

Set in the glorious countryside of the South Downs National Park, Petersfield is an ancient market town originally built as a Norman ‘new town’ at the end of the 11th Century.

Home to the Petersfield School opened on 20 June 1958, it remains the only state-funded secondary school in the town.

Teaching around 1350 students between the ages of 11-16, the school has garnered quite a reputation for itself over the years.

The teacher-student ratio is 16:1 which means that pupils benefit from a more intimate classroom setting compared to some secondary schools which often have ratios of 25-30 students per teacher.

Ofsted remarked, “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding. Pupils are happy and confident learners. They feel they can talk to adults at the school if they need any help.”

The report also states that “the behaviour of pupils is outstanding. Pupils’ conduct in and around the school is excellent. They have very positive relationships with each other and the staff.”

3. St Annes Catholic School – Southampton

This outstanding Roman Catholic school is a secondary for girls aged 11-18 with a co-educational sixth form.

A medium-sized school which has around 1130 pupils.

Situated close to the centre of Southampton, its reputation makes it a popular choice with parents both within the city and beyond.

St Annes has been delivering quality education for decades.

It has achieved double Ofsted outstanding judgements in 2016 and 2022, and an outstanding judgement for our Catholic School Inspection in 2017.

The strong support students receive is evident and there are plenty of clubs and extracurricular activities for all.

2022/23 GCSE results for the school were excellent with 66% gaining grade 5 or above in their English and maths GCSEs.

Compared to the local authority average of 38% and the UK average of 45%, St. Annes does very well.

In Ofsted’s “outstanding” comments, it noted that “Parents are very positive about their experience, describing the school as ‘amazing’ and ‘wonderful’.

It further stated that “Pupils achieve exceptionally well, and their behaviour is exemplary. School rules are clear and fair. Sixth-form students set an excellent example to their community. Bullying is extremely rare, and staff tackle it expertly if it happens. The school keeps its pupils safe”.

4. Bohunt School – Liphook

A secondary school with academy status located in the rural village of Liphook.

The school is set amid the picturesque South Downs National Park.

It is co-educational and takes children from ages 11-16 and currently has over 1800 pupils.

Many students are drawn from the surrounding areas including Surrey, Hampshire, and West Sussex.

A relatively large school, making it all the more impressive to have been deemed “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Some of the positive comments from Ofsted include “Overall standards are significantly above average, and students of all attainment levels make good progress”

As well as scoring highly academically, Ofsted commented that “Students’ personal development and well-being are also excellent”.

Alternative Education Provision

Though the state education system in the county manages to provide a large number of high performing schools, Hampshire can also provide some excellent alternatives.

Some parents prefer to send their children to private schools.

Hampshire has a wide range of prep, day, or boarding school options for all ages.

There are at least 58 private schools to choose from, you can explore these options HERE.

Perhaps you have a child that requires extra or special support.

Here again, Hampshire has lots of fantastic schools covering a wide range of special needs.

Snobe, the school search website provides an extensive list of the best special needs school in the region.


For families contemplating a relocation to Hampshire, you can rest assured that you will find when it comes to education provision, the county is hard to beat.

In this article, we have only highlighted a small selection of the many state-funded schools in the area that boast exceptional ratings from Ofsted.

These accolades underscore the commitment and diligence demonstrated by both students and educators.

A robust education serves as the cornerstone for providing your child with an optimal groundwork for future triumphs in life, therefore it is incredibly important you choose the right school

Irrespective of where your child currently stands on their educational path, and regardless of any physical or mental abilities they possess, Hampshire will not disappoint.

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