QE named as country’s top state school, as it announces high level of Oxbridge offers

Queen Elizabeth’s School is the top state school in the country, according to a new table published by the Sunday Times.

QE came eighth in the table overall, closely following seven leading independent schools, and nine places ahead of the next state school in the table. The table, drawn up by Parent Power, the newspaper’s schools guide, reflects examination success.

The Sunday Times journalist, Stephen Robinson, highlighted the dual trend of rising fees for independent schools and improving standards of state education, particularly among grammar schools. As a result, many parents who might previously have sent their children to independent schools are now seeking out the best state schools, he wrote.

""Headmaster Neil Enright welcomed the School’s high place in the table and today announced that this year, 36 boys have been offered places at Cambridge and Oxford. “Over the past three years, we have received more than 100 Oxbridge offers, in addition to other boys gaining places at medical school or in Ivy League universities in the States, for example. That compares very favourably indeed with all the country’s top academic schools, whether in the independent or maintained sector.”

The 28 Cambridge and eight Oxford places are for subjects ranging from Natural Sciences, Law and Economics to Engineering, Experimental Psychology and Geography.

""“Because of such successes, we are heavily over-subscribed and it is undoubtedly true that securing a place here is difficult,” said Mr Enright. “However, we are proud of the fact that our admissions system is strictly meritocratic: any very bright boy can become an Elizabethan, regardless of his social, ethnic or religious background. This results in an intake which is, in fact, very diverse.”

The Sunday Times table is based solely on academic performance – the proportion of A*-B grades combined with the proportion of A*/A grades at GCSE, with the A-level figures being double-weighted.

""But Mr Enright pointed out that there is more to QE than examination success alone. “We are constant in our determination ‘to produce young men who are confident, able and responsible’, as our mission statement has it. There are very many extra-curricular activities here – from sports and the performing arts to chess, debating and academic clubs – and we expect all boys to contribute to the life of the School by getting involved.”

The Sunday Times table was based on the public examination results of last summer, when 98.4% of A-levels taken at QE were graded A*–B – the School’s second-best performance ever – while the GCSE results set a new QE record, with almost seven out of every ten examinations sat being awarded the top A* grade.

""For the article in the Sunday Times magazine, Mr Robinson interviewed Quentin Carruthers, whose eldest son, Frederick, holds one of this year’s 36 Oxbridge offers at QE. Mr Carruthers works in the City as an editor of financial reports, but knew he would not be able to afford to send his sons to Radley College, the public school that both he and his father attended. The journalist pointed out that QE typically sends many more pupils to Oxford or Cambridge than Radley.

State schools top private rivals, The Sunday Times, Sunday 7 February 2016

Cutting the old school ties, The Sunday Times magazine, Sunday 7 February 2016