Winchester heads A-level league table: Title of highest-scoring independent school is wrested away from Westminster. Fran Abrams, Education Correspondent, reports (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 16 SEPTEMBER 1993) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE

(Table omitted)

WINCHESTER College has replaced Westminster school as the top performer at A-level, according to a table released by the Independent Schools Information Service, Isis.

Winchester, a Hampshire boarding school, gained an average points score of 29.5 per candidate, based on the Ucca scale giving 10 points for an A-grade down to two for an E-grade. Westminster was second with an average of 29.4 points.

St Paul's School in Barnes, south- west London, achieved the highest percentage of top grades, with almost 88 per cent of entries gaining As and Bs. North London Collegiate School in Edgware was the top girls' school, with 28.3 points and 86 per cent gaining A or B grades.

Last year, Westminster had the top average, followed by Winchester, St Paul's and King Edward's School, Birmingham.

The schools on the Isis list achieved a 93 per cent pass rate overall, higher than the national average of 81 per cent. This is usually because most independent schools are selective and parents are determined to get good results.

Winchester's triumph will be particularly welcomed by boarding schools after a year in which some were forced to close.

The school, which has the longest unbroken history in Britain, was founded in 1382.

It has always had a reputation for outstanding academic achievement, and its students, known as Wykehamists after its founder, William of Wykeham, have in the past been accused of arrogance.

Winchester has changed little in recent years. It feels no need to go co- educational, as many boys' boarding schools have, and has few assisted places - the scheme under which the Government pays part of the fees.

Among its old boys are Lord Howe, the former deputy prime minister, Viscount Whitelaw, former leader of the House of Lords, and Alasdair Milne, former Director- General of the BBC.

The school's headmaster, James Sabben-Clare, said he did not set too much store by the competition that league tables tended to foster.

'What we are trying to do is to provide the best education for intelligent children, and there is more to that than doing well in exams,' he said.

Westminster cannot lay claim to such a long history as Winchester, having been founded in 1542, by Elizabeth I. Nor can its pupils bask in such an atmosphere of calm, being expected to make their way to school by Tube and to negotiate the rush- hour traffic of central London.

Its old boys are a more mixed bunch than Winchester's. Among them are Tony Benn, the Labour MP, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer, Lord Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and John Brown, publisher of Viz magazine.

This year is the second in which Isis has published the A-level results of 500 secondary schools in an attempt to pre-empt privately-compiled tables which had begun appearing.

Last night Vivian Anthony, secretary of the Head Masters' Conference (HMC) - which represents boys' boarding schools and many day schools - said that although he had helped to design the table, he disliked league tables. Isis, of which HMC is a member organisation, ordered the results alphabetically.

'League tables give the impression that it is possible to compare the results of one school with the results of another. People are aware that the circumstances in which each school operates are very different,' he said.

Mr Anthony said that Sutton Valence School in Kent was to be congratulated as heartily as Winchester and Westminster. Its score was 38 per cent higher than its five-year average, showing it had improved its grades more than any other school.

Michael Haywood, headmaster of Sutton Valence, had mixed feelings about the honour. 'In so far as it goes, it is nice. But league tables have brought despair and frustration to heads who know they cannot reflect added value,' he said.

The top 200 independent schools

Source: Independent Schools Information Service

CORRECTION

Haileybury School was inadvertently left out of the 'top 200' in the independent schools A-level league table carried on 28 August. It should have been placed 114th.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there