GCSE Grades: Private Pupils ‘Streets Ahead’

Private school pupils are far outstripping the national average when it comes to scoring the top grade in this year’s GCSEs, new figures show. This is from Sky News

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) says 32% of students from fee-paying schools achieved at least one A* grade, compared with an average of 8% across all schools.

This has risen by one percentage point on last year.

The figures come the week after national results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed a drop in the proportion of all entries awarded the very top grade – with 8.2% scoring an A* this year compared to 8.3% in 2012.

These figures include GCSE and IGCSE (international GCSEs) results as many private schools now opt for the latter qualification.

In total, IGCSEs now account for nearly a third (32%) of exam entries among privately educated 16-year-olds, up from 24.9% last year, while pupils are taking fewer GCSEs.

On average, each pupil achieved two A* grades and seven As in their results.

…ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon said: “It is remarkable that the proportion of entries awarded grade A* has risen, bucking the national trend where there has been a fall in the proportion attaining the top grade.

“Also noteworthy is that the typical ISC student achieves 2 A*s and 7As, providing the perfect springboard on which they can continue their education at A-level this autumn.”

More at:  GCSE Grades: Private Pupils ‘Streets Ahead’

What can we conclude from these figures – are independent schools getting better or does the increase in participation in IGSCEs mean they are less affected by the overall lowering of grades for this year’s GCSEs? Please give us your thoughts!

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Categories: Private Schools.


  1. mrpeel

    SchoolsImprove maybe in the results, but since IGCSE route is open to all and baby state schools already do them, there is a simple cure.

  2. noreb_el

    SchoolsImprove Well-paid parents probably intelligent themselves so kids have genetic, as well as social, advantage. 2/2

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Of course they are – intake totally different, selective and if not pulling their weight/toeing the line, moved on.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove If I paid £1000s for my child’s education I would expect to have a greater chance of excellence. Pointless “news” story

  5. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove think class sizes have something to do with it too. Plus many may have gone to prep schools beforehand.

  6. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley SchoolsImprove Prep school + indie ethos + parental expectation + motivated staff = pupil exam success. Indie schls formula!

  7. misterhutt

    SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley Generalisation – I accept. Pupils turn up to learn. Teachers there to impart knowledge and love of subject.

  8. misterhutt

    SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley When I interview teachers I always go for the passionate educationalist. They make ME want to go to lessons.

  9. misterhutt

    SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley And I give them the freedom to teach and allow discovery. Never teaching to exam. Exam is a snapshot in time.

  10. misterhutt

    SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley HM once saw me teaching binary. Asked which exam paper it was on. Told him it wasn’t. Teaching for love of it.

  11. acet2001

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley You don’t think class sizes < 20 + spending per head about 4x that in state schools might help?

  12. acet2001

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley OFSTED would mark you down for that,I would love to teach transformation matrices but Gove forbids

  13. misterhutt

    glitt3rfish LearnWLesley So if we look at each tchr on merit that wld be better. Same as freeing Heads to pay salaries on merit. I agree.

  14. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove Nothing to do with class sizes <20 and spending per pupil at least 4x that in state education then?

  15. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley Ahhhh….the joys of having the freedom when you teach in the Independent sector.

  16. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley All studies I’ve seen show very minor link class size vs performance. My most successful year as 1/2

  17. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley 2/2 a tchr was the one where I used resources from my head only. Nothing else. Spent 12.5% of budget

  18. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley And, for your info, I have employed many good teachers who started their careers, like me, in State.

  19. acet2001

    noreb_el SchoolsImprove thinking like this could completely undermine the whole Pupil Premium ideology don’t you think? Even if correct!

  20. LearnWLesley

    misterhutt acet2001 SchoolsImprove i do think class/school size does matter. pupils easier to engage & motivate if you actually know them

  21. acet2001

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley and your point is? I’ve appointed many outstanding teachers who wish to remain in the state system

  22. LearnWLesley

    misterhutt acet2001 SchoolsImprove agree I always try to spend only what I truly need. It’s freedom to teach my way with passion 1/2

  23. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley The results are better. Look at the GCSE, A Level and Oxbridge entires. Must just be luck.

  24. LearnWLesley

    misterhutt acet2001 SchoolsImprove and being trusted to get on with the job. I am allowed to try things out. Kids still get the results

  25. misterhutt

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley You don’t get many State boarding schools. And you stayed in the State sector because?

  26. glitt3rfish

    misterhutt Sorry I didn’t mean your generalisations. It was the teacher motivation and expectations I was objecting to.

  27. misterhutt

    acet2001 LearnWLesley In many studies class size has been shown to have little effect. Employing effective teachers has impact on learning

  28. misterhutt

    glitt3rfish Absolutely fair comment. There are some amazing teachers in State and some dreadful in Indie. I never will argue against that!

  29. LearnWLesley

    misterhutt acet2001 I think class sizes do make a difference despite studies. 20 odd in a class is better than 30+.

  30. Janet2

    Of course, we can’t check this.  The DfE School Performance Tables which show the average grade of GCSE pupils in state schools don’t show the same data for the public schools.
    How galling it must be for the ISC that when their pupils get to university they tend to be outperformed by equally-qualified pupils from state schools (Sutton Trust, Cardif Uni, Oxford Brookes).  See:
    And when socio-economic background is factored in then UK state schools outperform private ones (OECD 2010).

  31. misterhutt

    LearnWLesley acet2001 I agree it ‘feels’ more manageable and my gut feeling agrees. But many international studies don’t support it.

  32. noreb_el

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove fair point. I went2a challenging state school myself +was academically successful, so believe in state schools 1/2

  33. noreb_el

    acet2001 SchoolsImprove however, that also had peers who when I bought them a book as a present, their Mum couldn’t even read it to them

  34. DaveBSheppard

    SchoolsImprove If you select pupils by income and by prior attainment above national average they should achieve beyond national averages.

  35. acet2001

    misterhutt LearnWLesley so why do public schools spend much of their budget keeping teacher-pupil ratios low? Why not have classes of 30+?

  36. acet2001

    misterhutt SchoolsImprove LearnWLesley I’ve had success at a personal level (SLT member since 1988) and never felt the need. Love my job

  37. misterhutt

    acet2001 LearnWLesley Now I’d imagine that someone who has been on SLT for 25 years might just be able to work that one out for himself.

  38. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove Glos school of 850 pupils gets £5000 per pupil per yr. Chelt Gents Coll charges £24k per yr for day pupil. You do the math!

  39. weabod

    Their higher A level performance is not fully reflected in their final degree results. I can’t think of any reason for this other than that the private sector (that has, as Mrs Thatcher might have put it, had all the money thrown at it) is better at getting good exam results but not necessarily much if at all better at education.

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