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Schools a class apart for A-Levels
SIX Oxfordshire schools have made it into a list of the nation’s top-performing independent schools.
Judged on the proportion of A-Level exams marked at A* or A in summer 2013, Magdalen College School, Oxford, is the top county school, and second nationally, with 91.01 per cent of all grades marked at A* or A.
The highest-performing girls school in Oxfordshire was St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon, at 16th — a significant increase from last year, when it was 39th in the country.
Headteacher at the Abingdon school, Rowan Edbrooke, said: “Our A* and As were well up this year.
“They were a bright year group, but they are all bright.
“We have worked very hard over the years to encourage independent learning and real independent thinking in the classrooms, encouraging them to really take responsibility for their learning.”
The school also performed well at GCSE, reaching 20th in the league tables, with 68.26 per cent of exams graded at A* and 91.5 as A* or A.
Miss Edbrooke said a balance of academic focus along with sport, music and drama helped drive aspiration among the pupils and in turn lifted academic performance.
She said: “Tables come and go... but the thrill of the whole thing is when you look at individuals and they are doing the best they possibly can.”
She said the school’s applications had held well at a time when many fee-paying schools had seen a drop in pupil numbers – with the school’s roll increasing from 620 to 702.
Miss Edbrooke said: “I think it does give parents confidence that their child can do well here. They step through the door and look at everything else that is on offer.
“What people are judging at the moment is whether it’s worth spending the money and what more will they get for that by sending their daughters here.”
Oxford High School came 24th in the table with 73.43 per cent of grades at A* or A, a dip from last year’s eighth position.
St Clare’s, Oxford, was 57th with 65.44 per cent A* and As or equivalent, while Headington School dropped from 23rd last year to 61st this summer.
The biggest jump came at d’Overbroeck’s College, in Banbury Road, which jumped from 172nd last year to 90th.
This year, 57.69 per cent of pupils achieved the top grades compared with 53 per cent last year.
Headteacher Sami Cohen said: “I am sure it is in part the cohort and in part, as ever we go on reviewing what we do, thinking about how we are teaching and how we are preparing our students for public exams.”