Schools to be ranked by number of academic A-levels

Schools and colleges will be ranked by the number of teenagers taking academic A-levels as part of a Government drive to get more pupils fully prepared for top universities. This is from the Telegraph…

For the first time, official league tables will feature data on the proportion of “Russell Group ready” teenagers at each institution.

The rankings – being released on Thursday – will reveal how many students gained good A-level passes in a string of rigorous subjects such as maths, English, the sciences, history, geography and languages.

The reforms are being introduced to ensure colleges and school sixth-forms encourage more 16- to 18-year-olds to take courses that act as a gateway to the most prestigious degree courses.

In a separate change, the tables will also show separate results for boys and girls at each school. It is intended to effectively shame those institutions that fail to push boys, who traditionally perform much worse than girls at both GCSE and A-level.

Reforms to league tables follow the publication of research by the Russell Group, which represents institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, showing that students taking academic subjects are much more likely to win places.

Admissions tutors have warned that those studying more than one “soft” A-level – including media studies, art and design, photography and business studies – could miss out.

It is claimed that admissions policies have favoured independent schools over state-educated counterparts who have traditionally been encouraged to push for easier subjects to boost pass-rates.

This week’s tables will seek to address the concerns by showing how many students at each and school and college in England gained at least two As and a B at A-level in so-called “facilitating subjects” favoured by top universities.

The move is likely to prompt anger among charities and business leaders amid fears that Government education reforms are too focused on a narrow range of subjects at the expense of practical and vocational disciplines.

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