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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has published its 2007 secondary school league tables, based on performance in GCSE and A Level examinations.
Bolton School Girls' Division was top of the table of Bolton schools with its near perfect 99% of pupils getting five or more A* to C grades, including Maths and English. 100% of students achieved five or more A*-C grades in any subject. The Girls' Division also topped a performance table of secondary schools in the neighbouring boroughs of Bury, Wigan and Salford and ranked as 73rd best independent school in the country.
However, it was a different story for the Boys' Division. Like many independent schools, the Boys' Division has adopted the International GCSE qualification in place of traditional GCSEs. The IGCSE offers less focus on coursework and there is a belief that it stretches further the brightest pupils. However, the government refuses to recognise this new qualification and has, effectively, blocked state schools from offering the more challenging exam. Consequently, the tables completely ignore this qualification and many top independent schools have ranked in low positions in this year's league table. This was the case for the Boys' Division, although if the IGCSE qualification had been recognised it would have recorded the same pass rates as the Girls' Division: 99% of pupils achieving 5 or more A*-C passes (including English and Maths) and 100% of pupils achieving 5 more A*-C passes.
Jonathan Shepherd, the chief executive of the Independent Schools' Council, said:
These flawed and misleading tables are a travesty of fair reporting.
Headmaster Mr Mervyn Brooker said:
The results reflect the fact that a majority of our students take IGSCE as a better preparation for A Level. In fact, if we include IGCSE, only one out of 135 candidates failed to gain 5 A*-C passes including Maths and English. Unfortunately, the league tables are too narrowly defined to indicate effective education or true performance. These results were excellent for this cohort, given the breadth of their experience and achievements. They are well rounded young men who will go on to impress at A Level and in the wider world.
Mrs Richards, Headmistress of the Girls' Division, said:
Currently the Girls' Division does not take any IGCSE examinations, although the curriculum is kept under constant review. Each Headteacher will have made a decision on examination entry based on what is best for their pupils. It seems most unfair to penalise those schools that do take IGCSEs. The League tables therefore no longer reflect schools' academic achievement accurately and are of limited value to parents in choosing a secondary school. A school is so much more than its League position.
The Girls' Division and Boys' Division were ranked in first and second position in the table of Bolton schools for their A Level results.
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