A* grades top 60% for the third consecutive year

A* grades top 60% for the third consecutive year

More than six out of every ten GCSEs taken at QE have been awarded the A* grade – for the third year in a row.

In total, 98% of GCSEs in 2014 received grades A*-B, while 90% were at either A* (61%) or A (29%). All 176 Year 11 pupils achieved the Government benchmark of five A*-C passes including English and Mathematics, and 99% achieved either A* or A in Maths.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to the boys and their teachers on a truly excellent set of results, consistent with the pattern established here in recent years.

“Our 2013 results set new records, but this year’s figures are perhaps equally impressive. They were achieved in the face of significant changes in national GCSE arrangements. Furthermore, this year for the first time all our boys took the IGCSE in Mathematics and Geography – a decision we took because this qualification provides greater academic rigour.”

Earlier this summer, Ofqual’s Chief Executive, Glenys Stacey, wrote to all secondary schools and colleges warning of ‘more variability’ in results in 2014 compared with previous years, following sweeping reforms.

Top Boys’ State School – The Times, Friday 22 August 2014

The main changes included eliminating modules, so that all GCSEs were sat at the end of the two-year course, and the removal of a mark for speaking and listening in English GCSEs, following reports that some teachers nationally were over-marking.

A third national change was the announcement that only pupils’ first attempt at GCSEs would be counted in league tables, thus discouraging schools from entering candidates early or repeatedly. Mr Enright said this particular change did not affect QE, since it has never entered pupils early for GCSEs.

Tony Little, Head Master of Eton, this month warned against ‘measuring only the easily measurable, such as exam results’ and he reiterated his previous criticisms of the country’s ‘Victorian’ examination system. Mr Enright said: “I certainly concur with his emphasis on the need for schools to develop character and resilience in young people, instead of focusing solely on examinations.

“That emphasis is reflected in our own mission statement to ‘produce young men who are confident, able and responsible’. It is what lies behind our expectation that all our boys should take part in extra-curricular activities – whether that’s performing in the Big Band, playing cricket, joining the Chess Club or turning out with our Combined Cadet Force – and it is why all pupils in Year 12 undertake voluntary service.”

The Governmnent’s English Baccalaureate (EBac) performance measure was achieved by 99% of boys. The Ebac was introduced by the Department for Education in 2010 and is given to pupils who attain GCSEs or IGCSEs at grades A*-C across a core of academic subjects – English, Mathematics, History or Geography, the sciences and a language.

As well as Mathematics, there were also especially strong performances at QE in Biology (97 candidates, achieving 96 A*s and 1A) and Physics (97 candidates, 93 A*s and 4As).

With the School having now switched to Mathematics, Geography and Sciences IGCSEs, boys starting their GCSE courses next month will also follow the IGCSE syllabus for Languages.