King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham (fees pounds 4,725 a year) has come top of The Independent's table - which ranks schools according to a new points system - with candidates achieving an average score of 78.8. The school was also second in a table that ranks schools according to the proportion of A and A* grades. Girls at St Paul's School for Girls in London came top according to this measure - 97.4 per cent of all entries gained A or A*.
The figures for 600 independent schools were provided by the Independent Schools Information Service. Alongside traditional measures such as the proportion of candidates achieving grades A*-C, the service provides a new GCSE points score that gives eight for an A* grade down to one for a G.
The point score, which will be introduced by the Government for all schools this autumn, shows achievement for all pupils and not just for those who secure the top grades.
Sarah Evans, head of King Edward VI High School, said the school's success reflected the ability of the girls and the quality of teaching. But she was scathing about league tables. "The Government's idea that league tables are in some way informing the public better is completely false.
"They diminish the work of all schools by putting in front of the public a reduction of everything education is about to a single figure. It is misleading people into thinking that schools are about producing a particular number. It's a bit like doing a league table of newspapers on the basis of how many words of three syllables they use."
The different league tables produced by using different measures of performance illustrate the difficulty of providing comparisons of schools' academic performance.
For example, the point score used by The Independent gives schools where pupils take more GCSEs an advantage over those which take fewer. At some of the most academic schools, such as Winchester, pupils take only about eight GCSEs each. At other schools, they take 11.
Elizabeth Diggory, the new head of St Paul's Girls, said the structure and culture of the school encouraged good learning "in the widest sense". League tables had their downside, she suggested, but they had encouraged schools to look critically at their performance.
Overall, the percentage of independent school entries graded A to A* was 48.2 per cent, up from 45.2 per cent last year. Nationally, figures for these two grades were up from 14 to 14.7 per cent.
On average, independent school candidates achieved 57.89 points, equivalent to a nine-subject result of one A*, four As, two Bs and two Cs.
Letters, Review, page 2
Top-scoring schools for exam performance
School Points per % of A* - A
King Edward VI High Sch for Girls,
Birmingham 78.8 94.7
Perse School for Girls, Cambridge 76.39 82.9
King Edward's School, Birmingham 76.31 74.4
The Abbey School, Reading 75.6 73.9
St Paul's School, London 75.07 79.6
Whitgift School, Croydon 74.1 64.9
Westminster School, London 73.32 82.8
King's College School, London 72.05 74.9
King Edward VI School, Southampton 71.71 54.8
The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton 71.25 82.3
Dulwich College, London 70.03 59.1
Oxford High School GDST 70.01 87.6
King's School, Canterbury 69.79 63.9
The Haberdashers' Aske's School,
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire 69.76 73.5
Central Newcastle High School GPDST 69.65 75.3
Downe House, Thatcham, Berkshire 69.64 74.3
Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe 69.53 90.6
The North London Collegiate School 69.3 86.5
Manchester Grammar School 69.28 75.8
Wimbledon High School GDST, London 68.72 65.1
Canford School, Wimborne 68.62 46.8
The Cheltenham Ladies' College 68.56 75.6
James Allen's Girls' School, London 68.55 77.5
St Helen's School, Northwood, London 68.52 71.5
St Paul's Girls' School, London 68.31 97.4
Leeds Grammar School 68.31 64.6
Bolton School Girls' Div 68.27 71.8
Haberdashers' Aske's Sch for Girls
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire 68.25 89.2
Manchester High School for Girls 68.17 65.5
Eton College, Windsor 68.08 81.1
Royal Grammar School,
Newcastle upon Tyne 67.75 63.5
St Peter's School, York 67.71 64.5
Nottingham High School 67.44 63.1
The Perse School, Cambridge 67.43 66
The Maynard School, Exeter 67.41 67.6
King's School, Chester 67.1 69.8
Eltham College, London 67.03 60.9
Bolton School (Boys Div) 66.93 52.7
Hymers College, Hull 66.9 60.8
Leicester Grammar School 66.82 54.7
Withington Girls School, Manchester 66.77 91.2
Sevenoaks School 66.58 75.6
The Alice Ottley School, Worcester 66.41 55
Westbourne School, Penarth 66.4 67.8
Ladies College, Guernsey 66.3 64.7
Dean Close School, Cheltenham 66.2 37.9
Shrewsbury School 66.18 62.3
Magdalen College School, Oxford 66.17 54.2
City of London School 66.15 60.1
Wolverhampton Grammar School 66.12 59.5Reuse content