Parents across parts of Yorkshire are “blessed” with access to some of the country’s top performing secondary schools, education leaders say, as new ratings reveal a glimpse into upcoming performance tables.
The new rankings, based on this summer’s exam results for GCSE and A-levels and released weeks ahead of the official Government analysis, have seen a shuffle in the top performers for the North of England.
But with secondaries in York dominating with high results for both independent and secondary schools for the region, education leaders say the city has reason to celebrate.
“York has such incredibly strong schools, and really talented staff within them,” said Lorna Savage, the headteacher of Fulford School which has been named state secondary of the year for the North of England.
“There’s a really strong tradition of schools working together – and that is reflected in the fact that the city is doing so well.”
The Parent Power report, outlining the 2,000 best achieving schools in the UK, is based on the percentage of students achieving the very top grades at GCSE and A-level.
Across the whole of northern England, including the North West and North East, just one state secondary in Yorkshire was rated within the top five.
Ripon Grammar School is leading for the region at state secondary level, rating within the top 50 nationwide, while there have been further successes across Skipton, Sheffield, Halifax and Heckmondwike.
But it is York that has emerged as one of the region’s best performing cities when it comes to secondary school achievements, based on its most recent exam results.
“The city of York is blessed with an abundance of outstanding state schools,” said Alastair McCall, the editor of the Parent Power report.
“The jewel in the crown is Fulford School, the deserved winner of our North State Secondary School of the Year award.
“It takes on the county’s selective grammar schools in the examination halls and comes out on top, thanks to outstanding leadership and teaching, allied to determination, talent and commitment by the pupils themselves.”
Headteacher Ms Savage said a jump of 23 places in the national league table was a recognition of the hard work of all staff, students and parents at the school.
“It’s not just about results,” she added. “Education is about the values students have, the opportunities they have, and about how they develop into young people.
“We are absolutely thrilled.”
Queen Ethelburga’s College was the only independent school in Yorkshire to rate within the top 50 nationwide for its results.
Principal Steven Jandrell said: “We are delighted with our students’ results this year and that both of our schools are ranked in the top 10 schools in the North of England. We’re particularly pleased with our performance at A Level, as these results ensure that our students have the opportunity to go on to many of the top universities in the UK.”
St Peter’s School in York, the world’s fourth oldest school, also rose 23 places in the national tables and was named independent secondary of the year.
The school appealed to parents across the region and beyond, report authors found, with an “enviable” combination of academic achievements, sporting opportunities and commitment to a holistic education.
Incoming headmaster, Jeremy Walker, who will take up his post at the school in January, said this was something for the entire community to celebrate.
“What a wonderful continuation to a year of achievement and recognition for St Peter’s – the best school in the best city to live,” he added.
The full Parent Power report will be revealed in the Sunday Times Schools Guide for 2019, to be published this weekend.
Coun Keith Myers, executive nember for education at York Council, congratulated all those involved.
“This accolade is fantastic recognition for all the staff, pupils and parents at Fulford who have worked so hard to make their school one of the best in the country,” he said.
“I’m delighted that another York secondary school - Archbishop Holgate’s - is also listed in the Sunday Times’s top 10.”
And Coun Keith Aspden, executive member for economic development and community engagement, said: “Good schools provide our children and young people with a strong foundation for the rest of their lives and I’m so pleased to see York’s work here is celebrated.
“Our school communities play a key role in ensuring that York is one of the best places in the country where children and young people can grow up. Congratulations!”