State schools 'gain on independents'

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The Independent Online

Education Correspondent

A-level results in state schools are improving faster than they are in independent schools, it was revealed yesterday. While the average points score for each entry rose by 2 per cent overall this year, it rose by just 1.7 per cent in the fee-paying sector.

However, in a table of results published by the Independent Schools Information Service (ISIS) Winchester College regained its place at the top of the league. Its students gained an average points score per candidate of 31.9 - the equivalent of three grade As and an E.

Last year, Winchester found itself in fourth place after the three other schools which dominate the results table, St Paul's, Eton and Westminster. This year, St Paul's stayed in second place with Westminster third. Eton College, where Prince William will take up a place in two weeks' time, came fourth.

There were an equal number of boys' and girls' schools in the top 20 - nine of each - plus two which had co-educational sixth forms.

The results published by ISIS cover 531 schools, all of which are members of one of the major associations of independent schools. They do not include all fee-paying schools but do include most of those with the most spectacular results.

The average score per entry in ISIS schools now stands at 6.72 on a scale which allows 10 points for an A and two points for an E. In state schools, which are much less likely to be selective, it stands at 5.08. No figures are yet available for points per candidate in state schools but in the independent sector, the average rose this year by 2.4 per cent to 20.8.

Among the independent schools' entries, 30 per cent gained a grade A, 22 per cent a B and 19 per cent a C. In all schools this year, 16 per cent gained an A, 17 per cent a B and 19 per cent a C.

A spokeswoman for ISIS pointed out that the number of points per candidate was rising faster in its schools and it was this figure which mattered for university entrance.

"Independent schools are continuing to improve and the standard overall is still higher than in the state sector, but it is not a competition," she said.

Asked what Winchester did to achieve its position, other than selecting the brightest pupils, its headmaster James Sabben-Clare said: "It's a bit like the visitor to Cambridge who asked how they managed to get the lawn as nice as that. The answer was that you must mow it and roll it - for about 600 years."

ISIS A-level results, 1995

School No of Av points

candidates per


Winchester College, Winchester 136 31.9

St Paul's School, London 141 31.8

Westminster School, London 132 31.4

Eton College, Berks 240 29.5

Royal GrammarSchool, Guildford 107 29

King's College School, London 131 28.7

North London Collegiate School 106 28.6

Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton 87 28.3

Haberdashers' Aske's School,

Borehamwood 152 28.2

St. Paul's Girls' School, London 101 28.2

Manchester GrammarSchool 200 27.8

King Edward VI High Sch. for Girls

Birmingham 73 27.4

Radley College, Abingdon 127 27.2

Sevenoaks School (IB exams) 69 27.1

Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe 55 27

Haberdashers' Aske's Sch. for Girls, Elstree 114 26.9

Perse School for Girls, Cambridge 51 26.9

St. Mary's School,Calne 43 26.6

King's School, Canterbury 139 26.5

Royal Grammar School, Newcastle 147 26.5

Polam Hall School, Darlington 16 26.4

Downe House, Newbury 71 26.3

Godolphin & Latymer School, London 84 26.2

Withington Girls' School, Manchester 59 26.2

King Edward's School, Birmingham 122 26.1

Oundle School, Peterborough 198 26.1

Tonbridge School, Kent 123 26.1

Warwick School, Warwick 92 26

Guildford High School for Girls, Surrey 57 25.9

Nottingham High School 123 25.8

Malvern Girls' College 96 25.7

Oxford High School 72 25.7

Perse School, Cambridge 71 25.7

Sutton High School, Surrey 53 25.7

Shrewsbury School 126 25.6

Rugby School, Warwickshire 140 25.5

Benenden School, Cranbrook 63 25.4

Abingdon School, Abingdon 117 25.3

City of London School 121 25.2

St. Swithun's School, Winchester 48 25.2

Caterham School, 84 25.1

James Allen's Girls' School, London 97 25.1

Wellington College, Crowthorne 186 24.9

Dean CloseSchool, Cheltenham 81 24.8

Cheltenham Ladies' College 140 24.6

Merchant Taylors'School, Northwood 125 24.6

Portsmouth Grammar School 93 24.6

Charterhouse, Godalming 144 24.5

Bolton School, Lancs (Boys Div.) 101 24.4

St. Albans High School forGirls, Herts 56 24.4

South Hampstead High School London 74 24.4

*Schools with fewer than 10 candidates omitted