The school is academically selective in its intake after the Nursery, pupils being admitted on the basis of their ability to cope with and gain from the pace of education provided here. Academic standards are high throughout the school, as demonstrated in GCSE results and the end of Key Stage 2 tests, in which the Cathedral School is placed in the top rank of highly performing UK schools.
The standards obtained are all the more remarkable because they are not the school's sole focus: this is no 'exam factory'. Of equal importance is pupils' development in sport, music and the arts, their personal, social, spiritual, cultural and moral growth. Nevertheless, through good teaching and an ethos of hard work, pupils realise their academic potential and go on to further study with understanding, insight and confidence.