High number of new A* grades at Queen Elizabeth’s School – and average grade is higher than A

Almost a third of all A-levels taken at Queen Elizabeth’s School gained the new A* grade, it was announced today.

The introduction of the new mark – awarded for scores of 90% and above – also revealed the academic strength in depth of the school: its average points score per A-level was 121.2 – above the 120 score for an A grade (A* is 140). Across all boys, the average points scored was 482.9, which is well in excess of three A* grades.

Headmaster Dr John Marincowitz said: “I am really delighted at these results and at the sea of happy faces that greeted me today. Our boys come from such a diversity of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and it is tremendous to see them acquire such grades. The overwhelming majority will go on to Russell Group universities and, from there, I have no doubt they will have interesting careers and make valuable contributions to society.”""

“The results are also a source of considerable professional fulfilment for our staff, and that is so important too.”

Twenty-five QE boys are expected to gain places at Oxford or Cambridge this year. They include Eigo Takeda, who arrived in England from Japan at the age of nine speaking no English. He achieved straight A*s – in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry – double the number of A*s he required for his place to read Mathematics at St John’s College, Cambridge. Eigo is also a talented musician, playing the violin in two national orchestras.

“Eigo has done extremely well,” said the Headmaster. “Japanese to English is one of the hardest linguistic transitions – and Eigo came from Japan with absolutely no English at all. He is also a wonderfully strong musician – one of the best we have seen here, and we are a Music College!”""

Eigo, who worked his way up from being in the bottom set when he was in Year 7, said: “Going to QE was the big turning point for me. It’s an excellent school with a great environment, where everyone is so competitive and intelligent. You are pushed to work hard because you don’t want to be left behind: it’s not forced on you; you are forcing yourself.”

Another pupil, Ramsey Kobeissi, achieved A* grades in English, Economics & Business and Politics, with an A in French, which was more than enough to secure a place offered to him by Pembroke College, Cambridge. However, Ramsey has chosen instead to become the first-ever QE boy to go to Yale University in the US – having first turned down an offer from Yale’s Ivy League competitor, Harvard!

Dr Marincowitz also highlighted the collective success of the school’s mathematicians, who achieved 43 A* grades, 40 As, 10 Bs. “Those are extraordinary statistics for a subject like Mathematics, which is a challenging A-level.” One of the school’s most able mathematicians is Ariel Weiss, who secured grade S (outstanding) in both of his STEP papers, in addition to straight A*s in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Chemistry and Economics. He has accepted a place at Queen’s College, Cambridge to read Mathematics.""

“What is good about the A* grade is that it does distinguish between those who formerly would have just all have got As – and clearly there is diversity in that group,” he added.

Notable aspects of the A-level results at the school included:

  • 31.7% of all A-levels gained the A* grade
  • 80% of grades were either A* or A – a rise on last year’s figures for A grades of 77.5% 
  • The number of grades from A* to B held steady at an impressive 95.7%

The school had 139 A-level entrants this year. 64% took four A-levels, an increase from 48% in 2009. Dr Marincowitz pointed out that the school, which is heavily over-subscribed for Year 7 entry, maintains a large Sixth Form, yet does not accept any external candidates into it. “We could easily ‘weed out’ our weaker boys at the end of Year 11 and replace them with high performers from elsewhere, but we have chosen not do that,” he said.

Notwithstanding the strength of the A-level results, Dr Marincowitz believes the school may do even better in the next few years. “We knew this was not one of our strongest years, so the boys have excelled themselves with these results.”""

He pointed to the Lower Sixth’s AS results: 94% of examinations were awarded A or B grades (there are no A* grades at AS-level), which is a 2% rise on last year. “We have surpassed our previous best year – 2006 – and that group of boys went on the following year to generate 37 Oxbridge places. I expect next year’s A-level results to be extremely good and I know we have a very strong GCSE cohort this year as well, which all bodes well for the future,” concluded Dr Marincowitz.