Comprehensive Makes History by Beating Eton in A-Level Results
Sarah Cassidy and Richard Garner, The Independent (London, England)
ETON COLLEGE, Alma Mater to 20 former prime ministers and Prince William, has been beaten by a comprehensive school for the first time in this year's A-level results.
Eton also dropped out of the national rankings of the top 100 independent schools, figures released by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) yesterday show.
The pounds 19,098-a-year school will be beaten by Britain's top comprehensive, Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, when the Government's overall performance league tables are published this autumn.
Queen Elizabeth's scored a point score of 396 - the equivalent of just over three A grades per pupil. Eton achieved 387 points per student.
However, this year's tables of private schools' A-level results have been controversial. For the first time, nearly 30 schools boycotted the rankings either because they have lost confidence in the exam boards or disagree with the way the ISC assembles the tables.
Eton College had been one of the most vociferous opponents of the rankings.
Roger Wilkes, Queen Elizabeth's headmaster, said: "I'm just pleased with what the kids have done. They have been a super bunch all the way through their school career." The school keeps the name "grammar" but has been a comprehensive for 30 years.
Tony Little, Eton's head master, said: "Good for them. Any school that has done very well has my congratulations. But when it comes down to it one is concerned with the individuals. Our people met their marks and it is felt here that everybody did very well.
"I am in favour of transparency but any league table needs to come with a health warning. There is great danger in presenting anything as absolute fact when it can be presented in a number of ways."
Dick Davison, a spokesman for the ISC, argued that the Government's measure of success - which includes general studies A- level - put many fee-paying schools at a disadvantage because about one in three does not offer the exam.
If general studies results were not included, the pounds 18,360- a-year Winchester College would be the top-ranked independent school, followed by Westminster. …