Girls lead the private schools GCSE table

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Girls' schools have again outstripped boys' schools in this year's league table of leading independent schools' GCSE results. Fifteen of the top twenty are girls-only.

Of the remaining five schools, one has only 13 candidates and the other just 5.

There were ten schools where every single exam entry gained at least a C-grade, all of them girls' schools apart from the two with a handful of candidates.

Girls' GCSE scores have been improving faster than those of boys for several years. Girls have been doing better than boys in most of the major subjects.

By contrast, boys are still outstripping girls in some A-level subjects. Last week's league table of independent school A-level results showed that famous boys' public schools such as Winchester and St Paul's still lead the field at sixth form level.

Experts differ about the reasons for the different performance of boys and girls at GCSE and A-level. Some say that GCSE suits hard-working and methodical girls while A-level encourages adventurous and creative boys to shine. Others argue that girls do better at 16 because they mature earlier.

This year's results, issued by Isis, the Independent Schools Information Service, show that Bromley High School tops the list, moving up from eighth place last year.

St Paul's Girls' School in London, which was second last year, drops to fourteenth. Eton moves up from 35th to 24th but Winchester is down from 18th to 42nd.

Joy Hancock, head of Bromley High, said that she was opposed to league tables in their present form but was interested in value-added league tables which would show how much progress pupils had made since they entered the school.

"The girls and staff worked as hard this year as they did last," she said. "The school is about much more than league tables. Our aim is to produce renaissance women who value sport, drama, art and music and who plan interesting expeditions to places like Uganda.

"I don't think women yet have total equality but the girls who come here are determined to live life to the full."

Isis has provided provisional results for 40,000 candidates from 612 independent schools. This year 45.2 per cent of entries were graded A or A*, up from 43.3 per cent last year. Nationally, 14 per cent of entries were graded A or A* compared with 13.7 per cent last year.

More than 9 out of 10 entries (92 per cent) achieved grades A* to C, up from 91.6 per cent. The improvement was the same as the national figure for A* to C grades which rose from 54 per cent to 54.4.

More than one entry in seven (15.1 per cent) received the A* grade compared with 14 per cent last year. (The national average was 3.6 per cent, up from 3.4 per cent.) On average candidates entered 9.2 subjects each.

David Woodhead, national Isis director, said: "By every measure, this year's results from independent schools have outstripped national performances and demonstrated the wisdom of parents' investment in independent education."

Independent schools' performance at GCSE

School Candidates % entries A* to C

Bromley High School 94 100

Old Palace School of John

Whitgift, Croydon 87 100

Wycombe Abbey School,

High Wycombe 79 100

King Edward VI High School

for Girls, Birmingham 78 100

City of London School for Girls 73 100

Withington Girls School,

Manchester 72 100

Talbot Heath School,

Bournemouth 59 100

Tudor Hall School, Banbury 44 100

Westbourne School, Penarth 13 100

Tower House, Barmouth 5 100 Norwich School 93 99.9

St Helen's School,

Northwood 83 99.9

Oxford High School 82 99.9

St Paul's Girls' School, London 80 99.9

Guildford High School for Girls 73 99.9

St Paul's School, London 161 99.8

Sevenoaks School 138 99.8

Nottingham High

School for Girls 117 99.8

The North London

Collegiate School 105 99.8

The Godolphin &

Latymer School, London 103 99.8

St Swithun's School, Winchester 68 99.8

Badminton School, Bristol 48 99.8

Channing School, London 47 99.8

Eton College 256 99.7

Manchester Grammar School 208 99.7

Radley College, Abingdon 131 99.7

James Allen's Girls'

School, London 103 99.7

Sir William Perkins's

School, Chertsey 92 99.7

The Haberdashers' Aske's,

Borehamwood 170 99.6

King's College School, London 153 99.6

The Cheltenham Ladies' College 142 99.6

King Edward's School,

Birmingham 127 99.6

Perse School for Girls, Cambridge 87 99.6

Central Newcastle High School 85 99.6

Loughborough High School 85 99.6

St Albans High School for Girls 82 99.6

Schools are listed by % entries gaining A* to C grades. Where two achieved the same % the one with more candidates is listed higher.

Source: ISIS