11 state primary schools in the London borough of Croydon are outstanding, according to Ofsted.

 As London’s most populous borough, Croydon has plenty of schools for parents to choose from.

However, from Croydon’s pool of more than 80 primary schools, only 11 garner the coveted ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

Ofsted, the school performance watchdog, irregularly inspects schools across the country.

Inspectors look at the quality of education, behaviour, and attitudes of pupils at a school to give a ranking. 

Ofsted has four grades to explain a school’s performance following a visit. They rank from outstanding – which is the best mark – to good, requires improvement, and inadequate. 

With the primary school application approaching on January 15, we have compiled a list of the 11 primary state schools to get an Outstanding rating in Croydon, according to Ofsted reports:

Park Hill School

Last inspection: June 2023

The affiliated Junior school, which sits on the same site on Stanhope Road, also enjoys a great reputation. In particular, parents and inspectors alike praised the school’s warm community feel and ability to keep students safe.

Inspectors said: “Working relationships between staff and pupils are highly respectful. Pupils are polite and courteous. They show good manners to adults and to each other. Pupils feel confident in approaching a trusted adult if they have any serious concerns. Adults deal with any worries swiftly and keep pupils safe.”

They added: “Leaders deliver an extensive offer of enrichment activities that develop pupils’ interests and talents. Staff take great care to include all pupils, including those with SEND, to take part in the many clubs and activities available.”

Chestnut Park Primary School

Last inspection: July 2018

Part of the expanding GLF academy, Chestnut Park Primary is the reputable group’s first school in Croydon. Despite only opening in 2015, the school has earned a reputation for its modern classrooms and tailored curriculum. 

The purpose-built school sits just off Croydon’s London Road and is well connected by West Croydon station and bus routes.

Inspectors said: “Children in the early years provision make outstanding progress due to effective leadership and high-quality provision. Leaders and staff also ensure that positive working relationships with parents and carers are central to children’s success.”

Heathfield Academy 

Last inspection: July 2018

This South Croydon school is part of the STEP Academy Trust, which has a number of schools across South London. The school has excellent connections in the form of the nearby South Croydon station and numerous bus routes that run along South End.

The school boasts a particularly strong English and mathematics department and places and emphasis on the acquisition of basic skills. It also has great provision for sport and the performing arts.

On their last inspection, Ofsted said: “Teachers know their pupils well. They ask incisive questions to check pupils’ understanding. This ensures that the work teachers provide is perfectly designed to extend pupils’ learning. Consequently, pupils produce work of a very high standard across a wide range of subjects.”

Harris Primary Academy Croydon

Last inspection: November 2023

As the first of four Harris Academy schools on our list, the Croydon branch is no exception to the academy’s reputable teaching. Situated in a quiet residential area outside the Purley Way industrial area, the primary academy is well served by the local Ampere Way and Waddon Marsh.

On their visit to the school in November of last year, inspectors said: “All pupils at Harris Primary Academy Croydon flourish. The trust’s vision of ‘excellence: every child, every day’ permeates through each aspect of this exceptional school. Pupils, parents and carers, staff and trust leaders are incredibly proud of their school.”

Harris Primary Academy Haling Park

Last inspection: October 2023

This Harris Academy school in South Croydon also enjoys a great reputation for its high attainment and student satisfaction levels. Like the Heathfield Academy, it is also within walking distance from South Croydon rail station.

Inspectors were quick to praise the school’s curriculum and the emphasis is placed on preparing students for the next phase of their school career.

They said: “They have designed a curriculum that is broad and extends beyond the national curriculum. For example, in the summer term of Year 6, pupils study a unit of work to prepare them for Year 7 in each subject. It prepares pupils extremely well for the next stage of their education. Pupils are highly motivated to learn and are keen to do their best in all lessons. As a result, pupils achieve excellent results.”

Harris Primary Academy Purley Way

Last inspection: September 2019

As the name suggests, this large purpose-built school sits at the north end of the busy Purley Way. Its location means it’s well connected to the nearby Waddon station and bus routes into Croydon.

Since opening in 2016, the school has performed consistently well in achieving high attainment and student satisfaction. Like with Haling Park, teachers at this primary school ‘ensure that the curriculum is well planned to develop pupils’ knowledge and skills across a range of subjects.’

Harris Aspire Academy 

Last inspection: December 2023

This Harris Academy can be found nestled behind the well-connected Norwood Junction station in the borough’s northeast. This pupil referral unit has improved to an outstanding level from its previous inspection in 2016.

Inspectors put this improvement down to the school’s teaching and focus on student support. They also praised the wide variety of opportunities available to students. 

Following their 2023 inspection, Ofsted said: “From the time pupils join the school, they are helped to understand their own challenges, talents and interests. The school’s strong social and emotional support strategies help pupils to identify what might help them to make the next steps in their learning.

For example, pupils work with life coaches who support their personal development. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their behaviour and understand their emotions. They are taught strategies to help build their self-esteem, regulate their feelings, and make informed choices. The impact of this is reflected in pupils’ positive behaviour inside and outside the classroom.”

St John’s CofE Primary School

Last inspection: November 2021

The first religious school on our list has also seen marked improvement in recent years. Back in 2007 the school was deemed ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted, but has since worked its way up to ‘outstanding’ due to the presence of an improved leadership team.

This Shirley-based primary school is not particularly well connected by train but has several local bus services that run nearby.

On their last inspection, Ofsted said: “This is a school which helps pupils develop a love of learning. Pupils develop an understanding that their hard work will help them in their later studies and career.”

St James the Great RC Primary and Nursery School

Last inspection: December 2023

The only catholic school on our list can be found in Thornton Heath in the borough’s north. Students can easily access the school from the nearby Norbury and Thornton Heath train stations as well as local bus routes.

Inspectors said: “The school provides exceptional opportunities for pupils’ personal development. Through the curriculum and wider activities, the school supports pupils’ preparation for life skills. Pupils demonstrate a mature understanding of other people’s beliefs and choices.”

David Livingston Academy 

Last inspection: July 2019

The David Livingston Academy, also located in Thornton Heath, is another school that has experienced marked improvement in recent years.

Despite being graded ‘good’ in 2012, the school was branded with the ‘requires improvement’ status following an inspection. Since then, however, Ofsted upgraded it to ‘outstanding’ following an inspection in July 2019.

Inspectors said: “Leaders have brought about significant improvements in the school because of their high expectations. Leaders at all levels have an excellent understanding of their roles, and they provide compelling evidence of the impact of their work.”

Harris Primary Academy Benson

Last inspection: July 2023

The last Harris Academy on our list is yet another school in Shirley, to the borough’s hilly south. While not particularly well served by train, the school is close to regular school day bus services. 

This school is noted for its support of SEND students and excellent curriculum. It has also consistently achieved high academic attainment across all years.

On their last inspection, Ofsted said: “Leaders have a clear vision for the education of pupils at Harris Primary Academy Benson. This is underpinned by their ‘three golden rules’ of: showing respect, taking responsibility and always making the right choice. All members of the school community live and learn by these rules.”