A grades decline at private schools but still make up almost half of all A-levels taken

Eve Ainscough and Eloise Lake were among the top performers at The Mount School in York - which had the highest A-level point score per candidate in the region, according to ISC figures.
Eve Ainscough and Eloise Lake were among the top performers at The Mount School in York - which had the highest A-level point score per candidate in the region, according to ISC figures.
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THE PASS rate for top grades achieved by A-level entrants from fee-paying schools has fallen but is still almost double the national average, figures show.

The number of A-level entries from private school pupils awarded at least an A grade dropped to 49.3 per cent this year, down 1.2 percentage points on last year.

This was still almost double the national average of 25.9 per cent.

A fifth of entries were awarded the top grade of A*, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC). One in 14 candidates got three A* grades – an outcome described by ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon as “remarkable”.

Tables published today from ISC figures and compiled by the Press Association measure the performance of schools based on the average number of UCAS points per candidate at A- level and AS level.

The tables show that Bradford Grammar School had the highest average point score per candidate in Yorkshire – 399 – across A-levels and AS levels.

It was followed by Queen Margaret’s in Escrick Park, York, where the average point score was 395 and then the Mount School in York where the average point score was 393.

The same three schools were among those with the highest average score based on only A-level results. The Mount had the highest A-level score with 361 points – the equivalent of every pupil achieving three A grades.

St Margaret’s was the second highest ranked with 357 and then St Peter’s School, in York, was third with 347 points and Bradford Grammar fourth with 343.

These Press Association tables are based on performance at A-level and do not take into account students performance in other qualifications. They are based on the UCAS system which gives 140 points for an A-level A* grade, 120 points for an A-level A grade down to 40 for an E and 60 for an A at AS-level, down to 20 for an E.

A high proportion of the A-level results will have been in traditional subjects such as maths, foreign languages and the sciences. “Many top university departments offering these subjects are dependent on independent school pupils for the quality of applicants they seek,” Mr Lenon said.

“Independent schools continue to be strong across the country, with many schools in the North achieving the top grades, when national figures show that schools in the North are performing significantly worse than those in the South East,” he added.

The ISC figures show the results of 484 independent schools and combine a range of qualifications including A-levels, the International Baccalaureate (IB), Btecs, the Extended Project Qualification and the Cambridge Pre-U examination.

This year’s rate of 49.3 per cent for entrants receiving grades A* or A represents a fall of 2.1 percentage points on 2012.

The drop mirrors a similar though smaller drop in the national figure, which was 26.6 per cent in 2012 and is now 25.9 per cent. ISC general secretary Julie Robinson said: “These results reflect the hard work and dedication of pupils and the exceptional level of teaching and support in independent schools.

“ISC includes a wide range of schools, both selective and non-selective, and all provide young people with a bespoke education.”

The figures also show a rise in the number of pupils from private schools taking qualifications other than A-levels. There was an 11 per cent increase in students taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). A total of 3,203 pupils (8.6 per cent of those included in the ISC survey) took the EPQ this year.