According to this year’s A-level results, state schools in England are outperforming private schools.
The best 500 state schools are getting better test results than the top 500 private schools, with higher average points per pupil. The top-performing state school was Colchester Royal Grammar school with an average of 1,430.1 points for every student. For comparison, Eton scored 1,004,5 and Harrow scored 1,004.8, reports Javier Espinoza of the Telegraph. 16 of the top 20 schools are state schools.
A senior source said that the results indicate progress:
We think the data is hugely welcomed and we think that it vindicates that our reforms are working and the next step should be to turbo-charge those reforms. It used to be that the state sector could learn from the private sector and now it is the other way around.
Charlotte Vere of the Independent Schools Council reacted to the news by pointing out that the data compared all to the country’s 521 private schools with the top 521 public schools. However, state schools come out on top no matter how many you compare, writes Fraser Nelson for the Spectator.
Mary Bousted, General Secretary at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said that it confirmed what she already knew:
For many people these will be surprising results. But I myself am not surprised. Teachers in state schools are becoming more effective all the time and they are becoming effective at preparing pupils at important qualifications.
The top 10% of public schools included Mossbourne Community Academy, which used to be Hackney Downs — the worst school in Britain. Now, it’s as good as Grey Coat Hospital School, which is where Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron will be sending his daughter this fall. Changes have included more discipline, more active head teachers, and budget reallocation so that more money goes directly to instruction.
Fraser Nelson writes in the Telegraph that access to a high-quality school makes all the difference:
Now, Mossbourne — which serves the same neighbourhoods as it did in 1995 — is one of the best in the land. A quarter of its pupils qualify for free school meals, yet 85 per cent secured five good GCSEs yesterday, far above the national average. It’s amazing what pupils from deprived neighborhoods can do, given great tuition. It’s a hugely cheering though: children from communities once served by the worst school in Britain can now attend one as good as that used by the Prime Minister.
Other public schools that have improved significantly include Battersea Park, which went from 45% of students getting five decent GCSEs last year to 68% this year. King’s Maths School, a free school in London, also made the list of the top ten schools in the country.