Why top schools come bottom

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The Independent Online

A glance at the foot of the new-style league tables highlighting performance in maths and English will show some surprising names at the bottom - Harrow, Winchester and Rugby for a start.

This is because they have turned their backs on traditional GCSEs and opted - in maths in particular - for the International GCSE, which is more akin to the old O-level with less emphasis on coursework.

Leaders of the country's independent schools reacted with anger last night as the decision meant the tables appeared to show not a single one of the pupils of these schools had achieved decent GCSE results.

The new league table deemed they had failed - since they did not have an A* to C grade pass in the traditional GCSE.

Barnaby Lennon, headmaster of Harrow, said: "We have a position where all the best schools come at the bottom of the league tables. They are putting pupils in for maths IGCSE which counts as a fail."

Jonathan Shephard, general secretary of the Independent Schools Council, said the decision not to include IGCSE results was "distorting the true results of schools which use IGCSE and giving the pupils no credit for their success".