After Judd and TWGGS on high A Level Grades
come Simon Langton Grammar Boys and Skinners on 36%, and Dartford Grammar Girls and Gravesend Grammar on 31%. The next schools in order are: Sir Roger Manwood’s & Sir Joseph Williamson’s 28%; Highworth Grammar 27% & The Rochester Grammar; Cranbrook 26%; Invicta 25%; Rainham Mark Grammar 24% and Tunbridge Wells Boys 23%.
Just five schools saw every student achieving at least 3 A Levels: Dartford Grammar Girls; Dover Grammar Girls; Highsted Grammar; Maidstone Grammar Girls; and The Rochester Grammar.
Dartford Grammar and Tonbridge Grammar don’t appear in these A Level lists because they focus on the International Baccalaureate which is not a direct parallel.
Other high performing non-selective schools on average grades are: Westlands, 203.6; Mascalls 200.5; St Gregory’s 200.3 and Hillview 200.0.
Many of the non-selective schools focus on vocational subjects, with Northfleet Technology College heading the list with 86% of its students achieving at least 3 ‘substantial vocational subjects’. It is followed by Hadlow College, 83% and then in third place, at last we see Marlowe Academy with a good outcome at 76%, although with a much smaller cohort than the others, of 14 students.
One of the biggest problems with looking at the success of Sixth Form courses is the starting point for, as schools chase higher league table places, or seek to limit numbers, the Grades to enter the courses rise year on year. For 2016 entry at the top end, The Judd School proposes to ask all students to achieve a minimum standard of 65 points across the 10 best GCSEs (10 points for A* grade, 9 for A, 8 for B……) will be required for 2016 entry, rising from 60 currently, reflecting increasing proportions of the highest grades achieved. In this case a high priority for the school is to keep its sixth form down to a reasonable size of 180 students as its own Year 11 sees over 50% of their GCSE Grades at the highest possible level of A*, up from 40% a few years ago. Like most grammar schools, it has gone co-educational in the sixth form to secure the best talent. This trend has really opened up the market in sixth form courses as many students now happily change schools to seek the most appropriate courses for their needs. Other grammar schools operate a variety of entrance criteria, ranging from the above points score down to at least 44 points, or GCSE grades in specific subjects, or some combination of these.
However, government’s decision to reduce school sixth form funding is already having and will have a wide and serious effect on many young people’s choices. A number of Kent MPs and headteachers have spoken out this year about the consequences, especially for grammar schools, but non-selective schools will also be hit. What we are and will be seeing is a reduction in the number of courses being offered in many schools, as smaller subjects become financially non-viable. These may include subjects such as modern and classical foreign languages, music, design technology, computing and politics, with schools focusing on subjects where they can attract sufficient numbers to put on larger classes. Smaller schools will encounter proportionately greater problems. The private schools must be rubbing their hands!
This move will inevitably have the effect of snuffing out some of the A Level sixth forms of non-selective schools, which often provide valuable courses for students capable of getting A Level passes, but not at the high grades expected in grammar schools. They may well therefore lose any opportunity to progress on an academic course if their GCSE Grades are insufficient to secure a place at the local grammar school (with requirements that continue to rise!), unless there is more local co-operation across the board between the two types of school to maintain provision. Some areas, such as Gravesham, are already going down this route, others keep their successes to themselves.