Performance of Private Schools Slips but Comprehensives Flourish ; GCSE RESULTS

By Cassidy, Sarah | The Independent (London, England), August 24, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Performance of Private Schools Slips but Comprehensives Flourish ; GCSE RESULTS


Cassidy, Sarah, The Independent (London, England)


Teenagers in state comprehensives are improving faster than pupils from families who pay to go private, figures showed yesterday.

Comprehensives have narrowed the GCSE gap on private schools after improving their results steadily over the past five years, an official analysis of the results revealed.

And independent schools have actually seen their proportion of good GCSE grades fall over the past two years - meaning that private schools' results are responsible for a slowdown in the overall improvement rate, according to a study by the exam boards.

Meanwhile, grammar schools have now overtaken private schools for the first time for the proportion of students scoring A* or A grades. The analysis came as national figures for 750,000 pupils across the UK showed record GCSEs results again this year. Nearly one in five - 19.5 per cent - of all GCSE exams was awarded an A or an A*, while 63.3 per cent received at least a C grade, up from 62.4 per cent last year.

However, the pass rate for D to G grades decreased slightly by 0.1 percentage points, suggesting a widening gap between the academically successful and those who struggle. This year boys continued to narrow the gender gap, which dropped by 0.2 percentage points for A* and A grades, 0.6 percentage points for A* to C and 0.1 percentage points for A* to G. Announcing the results, Dr Mike Cresswell, director general of the AQA exam board, said that the differences between school types showed that the improved results could not simply be due to exams getting easier.

"For the last two years, grade As are going down in the independent sector. In comprehensives it has been going up," he said.

Dr Cresswell said the improvements in results were "due to improved teaching and more effective learning". "If it was just getting easier to get a grade A then the independent graph would be going up as well. "At grade C, comprehensives have shown the biggest improvements since 2002, while grade-C results in the independent sector have been falling.

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