A major milestone in the project to build a new, multi-million pound Music School at Queen Elizabeth’s School’s has been reached, with the first ‘concrete pour’ at the site.
Selected staff and pupils were on hand to celebrate the arrival of the concrete mixer – the first of some 150 lorryloads due at the School over the coming months!
Headmaster Neil Enright, who was among the group witnessing the historic event, said: “It is exciting that the construction phase of this major project is now well and truly under way.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably caused a few complications, we have been very keen to press ahead with this project: it represents not only a significant investment in our facilities, but is also a sign of our confidence in the future at this difficult time.
“Indeed, while we have extensive precautions in place to keep everyone here safe from the virus, we are trying, so far as is possible, to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ for our boys, our focus remaining firmly on providing them with the best possible education.
“If all goes according to plan – Covid-permitting! – we should be able to open the new building during the 2021 Autumn Term.”
The £3.5m-plus project received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid (comprising a £1.2m grant and £1m loan).
Completion will involve substantial financial support through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, thus continuing a long record of FQE backing which has been instrumental in ensuring the School has been able to open a succession of new facilities over the past 25 years.
The purpose-built Music School complex will provide essential support for QE’s booming Music department – until lockdown began earlier this year, there were more than 20 ensembles at the School, with over 160 boys singing in the Choir.
It will feature a new performance venue and a number of much-needed teaching and rehearsal rooms. In addition, the two-storey building will provide additional assembly space to accommodate QE’s lecture programme, as well as a covered atrium for boys to use at break times.
The School’s new Deputy Head (Operations), Tara O’Reilly, said: “The site has been ‘prepped’ and ready for building work to start for some time, so it is good to see the area now full of machinery and to be able to watch the construction team from our contractor, TJ Evers, who are all working hard to break ground and put in the foundations for the new building.”
Watching the concrete pour alongside the Headmaster and Ms O’Reilly were Director of Music Ruth Partington and Music teacher Caroline Grint, together with two of the School’s senior musicians, Year 12’s Raphael Herberg and Conor Parker-Delves, both of whom have just started their A-level Music studies.
Raphael said: “We are very excited about the new Music block,” while Conor added: “We are really glad this is happening for our Music Department, and that future QE students will get to enjoy it.”
Pupils and staff at Queen Elizabeth’s School have made a successful start to the term, taking in their stride extensive measures introduced to keep them safe from the coronavirus.
All 1,250 pupils are now back, with normal levels of attendance reported and lessons well under way.
The new Year 7 boys came in on Wednesday for a special induction afternoon that included an assembly with the Headmaster, Neil Enright, with their Head of Year, Tom Harrison, and with the 2020 School Captain, Ivin Jose. They also had time in their form groups and were taken on a familiarisation tour of the site. These youngest Elizabethans are enjoying their first (non-contact) games afternoon today.
The rest of the year groups started yesterday and have already had their own assemblies and pastoral time to welcome them back.
Mr Enright said: “These are extraordinary times, but I am pleased to report that all is well and everyone is in. After last term’s remote learning through our eQE digital platform, the boys and their teachers are quickly getting up to speed in the classroom and on the sports field again, with productive learning taking place from day one.”
“Everyone is settling in well to new routines, adapting to a new timetable to accommodate social distancing and to lunch being served in multiple venues, for example.”
Mr Enright added that while staff and boys are being urged to remain vigilant, he has so far been impressed at everyone’s willingness to comply with the new measures and take responsibility for keeping the community safe, in line with QE’s anti-Covid-19 slogan, Play your part, help control the virus.
“The next few months are, of course, uncertain locally, nationally and internationally, but I am pleased that all here is running smoothly and am, therefore, cautiously optimistic as we set a steady course for the rest of the term,” Mr Enright concluded.
Queen Elizabeth’s School today begins the final countdown to the start of the new academic year next week, when all 1,250 boys will be welcomed on site.
The School, which celebrated extremely strong results at both A-level and GCSE this month, has prepared extensively and systematically for the September return to classes.
To help families get to grips with new measures to counter the pandemic, the School is today publishing its 35-page Back to School Guide containing details of its three key messages – Please, keep your distance, Wash your hands, and Catch it, bin it, kill it.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “After a great deal of hard work, we are now ready to welcome the boys back to a School that has been extensively adapted in order to keep everyone safe during this pandemic.
“It will be great to see boys from all year groups back here again and to welcome our new Year 7 intake as they embark on their QE education.
“While our teachers showed admirable flexibility and great professionalism in successfully delivering remote learning during last term’s lockdown, they are now very much looking forward to getting back into the classroom.
“I also know that, for their part, many of our pupils cannot wait to catch up with their friends. I am sure they will soon get back into the swing of lessons and start enjoying our exciting extra-curricular activities.”
As well as producing the 35-page guide for pupils, staff and parents, the School has embarked on a wide range of measures to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. The boys will be in year group ‘bubbles’ that will gather in their own allocated playgrounds during breaks and lunchtime. One-way systems have been introduced and the timetable has been adjusted to incorporate staggered lunchbreaks, all helping to minimise congestion in corridors and communal areas. Additional staff have been trained in First Aid and arrangements made to boost cleaning in the School, particularly on high-contact surfaces, such as door handles.
“We are confident that we have effective measures in place to mitigate the risks posed by Covid-19,” said Mr Enright. “We are now asking all boys and their families to be steadily diligent and individually responsible in following the rules, in line with our new anti-coronavirus slogan, ‘Play your part: help control the virus.’
“Of course, we recognise that many families have gone through difficult times in the past few months and some people may well feel a degree of anxiety as we come back together as a School. Moreover, the pattern of the coming months is unpredictable, both locally and all over the world, and the measures we have taken may have to evolve in line with changing official advice.
“I am, however, confident of this: if we work together as a School and as the wider Elizabethan community, QE will successfully get through this hugely challenging period and emerge successfully on the other side, just as we have done before at other critical junctures in our 447-year history.”
Boys at Queen Elizabeth’s School put in an exceptional performance at GCSE this year, as the results announced today reveal.
The proportion of pupils achieving levels 8 and 9 – both equivalent to an A* grade under the old system – rose to 82% from 79% last year. This increase was driven by a marked improvement at the very top, with 61% of all GCSE grades at QE being at level 9.
With no GCSE examinations taken this year because of the coronavirus, today’s confirmed results are instead the product of the national moderation process. They show either the grade predicted by an algorithm devised by examinations regulator Ofqual, or, following a Government change in policy announced earlier this week, schools’ own predictions (Centre-Assessed Grades, CAGs) – whichever is higher.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Given the exceptional circumstances, it is difficult to compare 2020 results with previous years, but it is nonetheless worth noting that, taken at face value, these GCSE results are our best-ever at QE, better even than last year’s record-breaking figures.
“We are pleased that the boys in Year 11 have been justly rewarded for their efforts over the past two years, and I heartily congratulate them and their teachers: their results reflect great application, genuine ability and true scholarship.
“Many are forecasting that the late policy change will result in huge grade inflation nationally, but here at QE there is a strong correlation between the School’s CAGs and the algorithm, both at GCSE and A-level. Very few of our A-level grades were changed, compared to approximately 40% of grades changed nationally last week, and, at GCSE, there is, in fact, a slight increase in the overall figures as a result of the application of the algorithm.
“We have thus avoided much of the turbulence experienced in other schools and colleges. I am grateful to colleagues for their assiduous application of the moderation system that was sent out to schools in April. The stability we have seen in our results, with so few grades having to be changed, reflects the care with which the School approached the task given to us, the robustness of the data we drew upon, and the integrity of the staff involved.”
There was a strong performance in subjects across the board at QE, with, for example, almost three-quarters of the 185 boys in the year group (74%) achieving a 9 in Mathematics, and 85% of the individual science GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) also receiving the top grade. Those opting to take Latin, a subject re-introduced at the School in 2012, truly shone: of the 33 boys taking it, 31 (94%) received a 9, with the remaining two awarded an 8.
“The boys can move into the next phase of their education with confidence,” said Mr Enright. “They are now well placed for Sixth Form study – taking with them a very strong set of grades, as well as the benefit of having used their lockdown time productively. They spent the time on bridging work set by their teachers focused on subjects they are planning to study at AS and A-level, on various online work experience schemes, and on taking Eton College’s Eton X programme, which gives a systematic introduction to all the key components of academic research.
“The continuity of their studies will also be aided by Simon Walker again staying with them as Head of Year. He has worked with the year group since they were in Year 10. We look forward to seeing them back in the classroom in September.”
There is, concluded Mr Enright, a clear lesson to be drawn from recent events: “One thing that should be evident from this summer is the value of exams in providing the most objective judgement available and for the opportunity that they give for young people to show what they can do and differentiate themselves from their peers across the country. All will be hoping that exams can take place as normal next academic year.”
One of the finest year groups ever to study at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, today received their A-level results, setting the seal on their glittering record of achievements as senior students.
Two years ago, more than three-quarters of these pupils’ GCSEs were at the top grade (A* or 8/9); last year, they amassed the highest-ever percentage of the maximum-possible A grade at AS-level, and earlier this year, 40 Elizabethans secured offers from Oxford or Cambridge, outstripping QE’s previous Oxbridge record.
Today’s A-level results reveal that this path of success continued to the end, with 99.6% of grades allocated to leavers being A*–B, the strongest-ever performance for this key benchmark.
This headline figure was underpinned on the one hand by a significant rise in A-levels awarded A* – a 9.3% increase from last year’s 45.3% to 54.6%, which is another QE record – and on the other, by a reduction in lower grades: only two Cs were allocated out of the 487 A-levels taken at the School, and there were no grades at all below C.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Our Year 13 leavers are a truly excellent cohort of Elizabethans who have shone brightly over the years, accruing great success in public examinations and securing places at many of the leading universities on both sides of the Atlantic, including Oxbridge. Their results today reflect their consistent excellence: they should be proud of what they have achieved over their seven years at the School and look forward with confidence to the next stage of their lives.
“While academic achievements certainly count for a great deal, there is much more to being a successful Elizabethan than getting top grades. This year group has made a broad and impressive contribution to the life of the School, as well as to their communities, through engaging fully in our wide range of enriching activities – from drama and music to chess, sport and engineering – and by giving themselves to mentoring, voluntary service and philanthropy.”
Year 13 inevitably suffered disruption in their final months because of the coronavirus, with their A-level examinations cancelled and a special valediction ceremony that had been planned for them – a QE first – having to be postponed.
“My colleagues and I have been very pleased indeed to see so many of them back on site today to collect their results and to celebrate, in a socially distanced way, with their friends and members of staff,” said Mr Enright. “We still hope to arrange to have this golden generation all back together to celebrate their success at some point in the coming months.
“Over the last months since lockdown began, our teachers have risen admirably to the challenge of offering boys throughout the School a full programme of remote learning, using our eQE virtual education platform. I pay tribute to them and to the boys for the way they responded in such a difficult situation, and for the smooth roll-out of the partial reopening of the School that took place in the closing weeks of the Summer Term.
“We have detailed plans in place to ensure our full, safe reopening and so – fingers crossed! – I look forward to welcoming back all year groups next month, when they will be able to see the construction work that has now started on our new Music School.
“This is, of course, an extraordinarily difficult period for all involved in education. But our School has a long history, and, over the past 447 years, we have successfully weathered many great challenges: I am confident that we will do so again, and I am optimistic about the future.”
In his video address at this year’s Junior Awards, Headmaster Neil Enright acknowledged that, with the disruption, uncertainties, anxiety and “very real pain” caused by the global pandemic, people might feel there is little cause for celebration.
“Yet, despite all of this, indeed perhaps because of all of this, it is hugely important that we take the time to recognise and celebrate your exceptional contribution and performance over the course of the academic year,” said Mr Enright to the Year 7, 8 and 9 award-winners.
With the normal ceremony not possible because of Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s event was switched to an online format. This combined video messages with other innovations such as a message board where teachers have been able to leave messages of congratulations to the prize-winners on the School’s eQE digital platform.
Mr Enright spoke of “the high aspirations and common purpose that drive you, your parents, your teachers and other members of staff [and] the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s who continue to support our endeavours so generously, and our alumni who have been so engaged”.
He said that he hoped that the School would be able to return from what has become the ‘new normal’ to just ‘normal’. He added, however: “Our ‘normal’ at QE is anything but normal or ordinary; we are quite extraordinary. We were before Covid-19, we have been during it, and we will be after it.”
The Headmaster introduced a video address by Guest of Honour Jay Shetty (OE 1999–2006): “He is himself an extraordinary man – an author, a story-teller, a podcaster and former monk with a mission to make wisdom go viral. Having made the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and with 35 million social media followers, he is successful. I thank him for his support at this event.”
In his inspirational address, Jay echoed Mr Enright’s comments about the importance of celebration and said: “Even if today isn’t the celebration that you imagined, take time to celebrate today, make it special, make it important.”
Addressing the boys directly he said: “You’ve had the odds stacked against you; it’s been a difficult year – a tough time. But you’ve shown your courage, your resilience and focus even in tough times and this is an incredible ability that will stay with you forever.”
He recalled his own years at QE, and while acknowledging that he himself had never won one of the accolades or awards, he nevertheless believed the School to be an amazing institution. “I am grateful every single day that I attended QE. I know you may not feel like it now sometimes, it may feel like a long journey ahead, but I promise you, in the future, you will be so grateful to your parents; you will be so grateful to the teachers; you will be grateful to everyone that you went to such an incredible school. And I can’t wait to visit again, and I want to thank each and every single one of the teachers and the staff for making my experience there so open to evolution.”
Jay talked about his podcast, On Purpose, and about the inspirational individuals he has sat down and talked with, including the late Kobe Bryant, Alicia Keys, Yuval Noah Harari and billionaire Ray Dalio. “He [Ray Dalio] shared an equation with me that I wanted to share with you – I know it’s QE, hence the equation! – he said to me: ‘Pain + Reflection = Progress.’
“Now, the reason I love this equation is, if you remove the word reflection, all you are left with is pain, and it’s been a painful year for so many of us, but when we reflect, we find meaning, growth and evolution.”
Jay talked about the importance of reflection and of learning from success as well as failure: “If you reflect when you win, you will know how to do it again. And if you reflect when you lose, or fail, you will know what not to do again.”
He exhorted the boys: “Reflect on why you succeeded this year. Reflect on what you did differently. Deeply reverse-engineer and analyse the growth that you have made. Because when you do that, you’re going to be set up for success.”
He talked about his love of football and recalled the words of his coach when he was growing up in London. “He would always say to me: ‘When you lose, cry for a night and, when you win, celebrate for a night, and then move on.’
“And this is the best message that I can give you today: celebrate today, make it really important and special, but remember, tomorrow has more opportunities, tomorrow has more possibilities, and you’re creating an incredible future for yourselves.”
Pranav Challah, of Year 7, gave the traditional vote of thanks to Jay, saying: “We are sorry we did not get to meet you in person, but your willingness to assist us and the thoughts you have shared give us an insight into what it is really like to be part of the Elizabethan community and how the values of our community can help us thrive in the outside world. We wish you every success in your future endeavours and hope that one day we will be able to emulate your achievements.”
Announcing the Year 7 winners by video, the Head of Year, Tom Harrison, said it was important to understand the magnitude of the honours being bestowed: “In a year of 192 boys, to be the sole recipient of an award is no mean feat; it is a fantastic achievement.” The recipient of the Charles Fitch Memorial Award for Outstanding Commitment – and thus the overall award-winner for Year 7 – was Giuseppe Mangiavacchi.
Saim Khan, of Year 8, won the Rivlin Award for Outstanding Commitment. Head of Year Sean Kelly said: “He has gained an incredible number of merits this year and last year. He has worked conscientiously and is an inspiration for his peers. He embodies that great Elizabethan spirit that we want to see in all our boys.”
Head of Year 9 Rosemary Hall told the boys: “Winning an award is testament to your hard work and dedication to your studies and extra-curricular interests. I am very proud of all of you and all you have achieved.” Darren Lee received the Bob Govett Memorial Award for Outstanding Commitment.
The traditional musical interludes during Junior Awards were performed by:
Leo Sellis (Year 7), saxophone – The First Movement of Sonata in G Minor by J. S. Bach
Harrison Lee (Year 8) violin – A Trip Down Memory Lane, a selection of Sinfonietta pieces
Nathan Woodcock (Year 9) – Scaramouche Movement 3 – Brazileria by Darius Milhaud
The Headmaster concluded by saying that he missed the usual opportunity provided by the Junior Awards Ceremony to shake the boys by the hand. Nevertheless he offered them congratulations and best wishes for the summer holidays.
As the first major step towards the progressive wider reopening of Queen Elizabeth’s School, boys from Year 10 have today returned to the site. Headmaster Neil Enright and all the senior staff came out to welcome them.
In line with national Government policy asking schools to prioritise on-site provision for those with public examinations next summer, QE’s Year 10 return first, to be followed by Year 12 from 29th June.
Huge efforts have gone into readying the campus to allow social distancing and to ensure a safe environment for pupils and staff to return to. And although all boys from these year groups will be coming in, they will not all be on-site at the same time, since this is not allowed by the guidance. Instead, large groups – typically half the year – will be attending at once.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are very happy indeed to have boys back on the site in numbers. Bringing them back is a step we have taken only after conducting a substantial process for assessing and mitigating risks. My thanks go to our Head of Facilities Management, Mrs Silvia Shann, and her team for all they have done to get the site ready.”
Deputy Head (Pastoral) David Ryan said: “We will now be able to provide these boys with important in-School support, supplementing the remote learning that has been taking place through our eQE online platform. I know that Year 10’s Head of Year, Dr Tim Waite, their tutors and other staff have all been looking forward to spending time with them face-to-face again.
“We recognise the challenges that boys have faced through having to work largely in isolation over recent weeks and months, so it is tremendously satisfying to be able to offer these two year groups the opportunity to socialise safely with each other again.
“We will be able to hold some enriching, extra-curricular activities on site again and also, crucially, to provide them with face-to-face social and pastoral support: we are determined that our very developed support and guidance programme remains central to the boys’ experience of life at QE.”
The returning year groups will initially sit end-of-year assessments covering boys’ learning over the whole academic year. The results will, on the one hand, help teachers consolidate the learning boys have done during lockdown by providing useful data to inform ongoing priorities for the classroom. On the other, they will inform the boys’ own choices of A-level subjects and, for Year 12, their decisions about applying to university.
Deputy Head (Academic) Anne Macdonald said: “The Year 10 boys and their teachers have done brilliantly to adhere to the timetable and to keep up the pace as they have progressed through the GCSE curriculum during the lockdown period. The end-of-year assessments will be important in charting the course forward from this point.”
While it is not possible for other year groups to return to the site yet, the full programme of timetabled remote learning for Years 7-9 continues, together with the extensive pastoral support that is also offered through eQE. Tutors are busy with bespoke tutorials being delivered through Zoom and the latest round of senior staff pastoral checks for Years 7 and 8 starts this week, also on Zoom.
The preparations for the return of Year 10 and Year 12 have included, among many other measures, the:
Introduction of new cleaning regimes
Reduction of venue capacities to allow for social distancing
Plentiful health and safety signage
Re-allocation of outside space
Installation of ‘mag-lock’ doors in the Main Building to reduce the need to touch doors.
Aly Sayani has won a sought-after scholarship to the University of Toronto, one of only 37 applicants from around the world to taste this success.
The coveted Lester B Pearson International Scholarship will cover Aly’s tuition, accommodation, materials and living expenses for the four years in which he reads Social Sciences at the Mississauga campus.
The letter he received offering him the scholarship also specified that in addition to the wide range of academic and co-curricular opportunities the university has to offer, “Pearson Scholars become part of a unique cohort, with access to specially enriched programming and select opportunities.”
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are naturally delighted for Aly on his successful application for this prestigious scholarship. I am always pleased to see our boys exploring overseas opportunities at top universities, and we believe he is the first Elizabethan to take up an undergraduate place in Canada.
“This has been a remarkable year in more ways than one: quite apart from the challenges posed by Covid-19, we have 40 boys with Oxbridge offers – a School record – and many others who will take up places on prestigious courses at Russell Group universities.”
The Lester B Pearson scholarship programme is intended to recognise students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and who are acknowledged as leaders within their schools.
Aly, of Year 13, says: “I am immensely grateful and honoured to be a recipient of this scholarship. I was born in Karachi and raised in cosmopolitan London; I look forward to continuing to experience a wide range of beautiful and vibrant cultures, traditions and communities in the multicultural city of Toronto. I hope to learn how I can tackle problems such as poverty, inequality and climate change through my time at U of T.”
On its website, the University of Toronto says: “A special emphasis is placed on the impact the student has had on the life of their school and community, and their future potential to contribute positively to the global community.”
Only overseas students can apply for the scholarship, which is named after a former Prime Minister of Canada who in 1957 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to resolve the Suez Crisis.
Students’ applications must be supported with a strong recommendation from their school and the university will only allow one applicant from any school.
In writing a letter to support Aly’s application, QE Assistant Headteacher and Head of Year 13, Michael Feven highlighted the many ways in which Aly met and even surpassed the criteria. He passed nine out of his ten GCSEs with the highest possible grade and also received the top grade for Mathematics, History, Economics and French at AS Level.
Mr Feven continued: “I cannot recommend Aly highly enough. He is a hard-working, ambitious and scholarly pupil, one who I have complete confidence would be appropriate for a programme such as yours. Academically, he ranks among the brightest that the UK has to offer.”
He went on to describe Aly’s activities within School and in his home community, where he supports the Ismaili community, acting as a youth club team member and chairman. “Additional evidence of his excellent community contribution can be demonstrated in his role as a volunteer at Hillingdon Refugee Support Group. Here, Aly has helped to lead and organise life skills sessions for refugees fleeing conflict to help them settle into new lives in the UK.”
Aly was one of the School’s prefects in 2019 and played his part in monitoring younger boys at breaks and events. “His willingness to give up much of his free time over the year to support the smooth running of the School’s celebrations, open evenings and charity events is symptomatic of his engaged community spirit,” concluded Mr Feven.
Forty boys have been offered places at Oxford or Cambridge this year – a new record high for Queen Elizabeth’s School.
The figure surpasses the previous QE record of 37 set in 2008 and repeated in 2014. Twenty-seven of this year’s 40 offers are for places at Cambridge and the remaining 13 are for Oxford.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “This is a remarkable achievement, both individually for each of the boys and collectively for the School.”
“It reflects, on the one hand, the hard work and consistent application of these pupils, certainly in their academic studies, but also in the extra-curricular and voluntary pursuits by which they showed themselves to be, in the words of our School mission, ‘confident, able and responsible’ candidates of the calibre sought by our leading universities.
“And, on the other, their success is evidence of the meticulous work undertaken at the School to assist pupils as they move into higher education, much of it delivered through our QE University admissions Support Programme (or USP), which is supported by many Old Elizabethans. This work includes a great deal of focus on UCAS statements, as well as expert preparation for the various Oxbridge admissions tests and interview practice.
“We are a state school like no other; fiercely ambitious in nurturing high levels of aspiration among our pupils and their families, and then in helping them fulfil these aspirations. The fact that a good proportion of our boys are the first in their families to go to university is a compelling example of QE’s success in advancing social mobility.”
The Oxbridge places offered span the arts and the sciences, from Modern Languages to Medicine, and Natural Sciences at Cambridge to Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford. One feature of this year’s offers is that there are a number for degrees in a combination of subjects, such as History & German.
The offers come from a wide range of colleges, from the 13th-century University College Oxford to Cambridge’s Girton, which gained full university college status in 1948.
Mr Enright added: “We do, of course, have many other very able boys – including strong Oxbridge candidates who nevertheless did not receive offers. Whilst they may feel some disappointment now, a large majority of Year 13 are in receipt of offers at other prestigious and highly competitive institutions across the Russell Group and beyond, where I am confident that they will similarly thrive and excel.”
The photo, top, shows 32 of the 35 boys in Year 13 who have gained Oxbridge offers, together with Mr Enright. The remaining five candidates offered places are from among last year’s leavers.
Queen Elizabeth’s School has been named the State School of the Year for the second consecutive year in the Sunday Times’ Parent Power survey.
QE leads both the London and national rankings in the influential annual table, which is based on GCSE and A-level results.
And the survey revealed that QE is in fact among the uppermost echelon for schools of any stripe, state or private, since only four independent schools surpassed the School’s 2019 figure of 95.7% for the proportion of A-levels passed at A*-B (namely St Paul’s Girls’ School, Godolphin and Latymer School and King’s College School in London, together with Brighton College).
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “This is very welcome news and I feel tremendously proud to have the privilege of leading this School. Our position as the leading state school reflects both a substantial amount of hard work on the part of my colleagues and the boys, and our sustained commitment to pursuing the highest levels of achievement across all areas of School life.
“Good examination results, while important for our boys in securing places at the world’s best universities, are by no means our only priority. Through our broad and balanced curriculum, together with our extra-curricular academic enrichment programme, we seek to nurture a genuine spirit of scholarship among our boys.
“In addition, consonant with our mission ‘to produce young men who are confident, able and responsible’, we expect pupils to take advantage of the many other worthwhile activities available to them, whether top-quality music and drama, our wide range of sports, or our popular clubs, such as chess and robotics.”
The Parent Power rankings are determined by the percentage of examination entries gaining A* to B grades at A-level this summer (which is given double weighting) and the percentage of entries awarded A* and A grades, or their numerical equivalents, at GCSE. For QE, the GCSE figure was 90.8%.
Parent Power’s editor, Alistair McCall, wrote: “Despite the rapid advance of several relatively new schools in the capital, age is no barrier to success. Once again, Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet – founded in 1573 – tops both the London and the UK state school rankings. Competition for places at this boys’ grammar is not for the faint-hearted: 2,400 sat the entrance exam last year – a pool that is 50% larger than just five years ago.”
Immediately below QE in the state school table was Wilson’s School in Wallington, with local girls’ school, The Henrietta Barnett School, in third place.
The high position of these and other selective state schools in the rankings has not gone unnoticed among commentators. Professor Alan Smithers, a well-known educationalist from the University of Buckingham, highlighted the widespread national problem of bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds doing well at primary school, but then failing to make progress at secondary level. “Could the reintroduction of grammar schools be the answer to enable bright children to fulfil their potential?” he wrote in the Sunday Times.