The Sunday Times has looked into the detail of state school A-level results after comments last week that schools in the independent sector are being threatened by their growing success.
The paper reports that A-level results at the best state schools are now so good they are challenging the very best private schools where, it notes, fees can be more than £20k a year.
It outlines the situation at boys’ grammar Queen Elizabeth’s School which achieved the best state school results last year and was eight overall across the country.
The paper notes that it recorded no state schools achieving more than 80% A and B grades at A-level, with just 13 schools achieving better than 70%. By contrast, it says, last summer 10 state schools achieved more than 90% A*-B grades at A-level, 50 achieved more than 80% and 126 schools achieved more than 70%.
The Sunday Times says the analysis adds weight to comments from Ralph Lucas – the founder of the Good Schools Guide – that the improving state sector is a growing threat to independent schools.
However, it also then goes on to point out that this apparent improvement in the state sector is being led by grammar schools, with only four of the 93 state schools in the top 300 being comprehensives (and all four of those are faith schools).
It quotes Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, as saying children’s chances of going to a good state school were still a lottery:
“It is a pity that the opportunities to parents are so unequal, depending on where they live…”
More at: State schools top private rivals (subscription may be required)
So is this argument that state schools are improving so much they are threatening the independent sector a reality or is it just a reference to a very small number of selective state grammar schools, often situated in prosperous areas?
Let us have your take on the bigger picture here.
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