Independent schools achieve better grades

MORE THAN a quarter of all pupils at independent schools achieved A grades at A-level this year, according to the first results published on behalf of the schools, writes Ngaio Crequer.

This compares to a figure of one in eight, taking both state and independent schools together, based on last week's official figures. Pupils at independent schools achieved a pass rate of 67.6 per cent in the top A to C grades, compared with 46.4 per cent for both state and independent. The A-level pass rate for all pupils was 79.6 per cent, but at independent schools alone it was 91.9 per cent.

For the first time the results from independent schools have been published by Isis, the Independent Schools Information Service. A comparison with previous years shows that results are getting better, as they are for all schools.

Westminster School, London, which charges pounds 11,550 a year for boarders, is top of the list, with an average of 30 points per candidate. The score is based on 10 points for grade A, eight points for grade B, four points for grade C and so on.

At Westminster, 278 passes were at grade A, 130 at grade B, and 48 at grade C. Its average for 1987-91 was 25.1 points.

Other high scoring schools were St Paul's School in London (average 28.3 points per candidate), King Edward's, Birmingham (27.7), Eton (27.1), St Paul's Girls' School (26.9), Haberdashers' Aske's in Hertfordshire (26.7), Sir William Perkins's in Chertsey, Surrey (26.2), North London Collegiate in Edgware, London (25.8), and Tonbridge School in Kent (25.5). Some famous independent schools, like Rugby in Warwickshire with a score of 21.1, were further down.

David Woodhead, national director of Isis, said yesterday that the list provided important information for parents and marked a big step forward in their detailed knowledge of schools. 'We always advise parents that exam results illustrate only one aspect of a school's success and should be seen in the context of everything else a school does. In particular, parents need to bear in mind that schools have different entry policies - some are highly selective, while others take a range of abilities. These differences are bound to be reflected in their exam results.'

List of schools showing number of A-level candidates, points per candidate, passes per candidate and average points and passes per candidate in previous years omitted.

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