TWO North East schools have been named in the top 100 in the country in a GCSE league table for independent education.
Newcastle Royal Grammar School is ranked in 26th place and Central Newcastle High School is in 67th for their pupils’ performance in this summer’s exams.
The tables are published every year by the Independent Schools Council (ICS) and schools are ranked by the percentage of students achieving A* and A grades.
At RGS, 88.94% of exam entries were awarded the top grades this year and at Central High it was 77.43%. The pass rate for students achieving A* to C was 99% and 98% respectively.
This year’s GCSE candidates at RGS were the first year group to have been co-educational, with boys and girls being taught together from the beginning of secondary school at age 11.
Headmaster Dr Bernard Trafford said: “Sometimes critics of former boys’ schools like the RGS that become co-educational accuse them of bringing in girls to raise their academic standards, with an implication that they drag the boys along.
“Our experience has not been one of competition between boys and girls, nor any sense of one gender pulling the other along.
“On the contrary, it has simply demonstrated how co-education enriches the educational experience for boys and girls alike and we are finding that the difference in performance between boys and girls is negligible.”
Central High headmistress Hilary French said league tables for independent schools were a fair way of showing accountability, but stressed there was more to a good school than exam performance.
She said: “We are delighted with the findings of the league tables; it is a testament to the hard work of the staff and students.
“Results of this standard are hard won and I am so pleased for all of the girls. They all have a strong work ethos and understand the importance of gaining good grades.
“It is easy to look at exam results, but it is also important for schools to build confidence in their students across a whole range of subjects, both academic and creative.”
The all girls’ school also measures up against the new performance indicator – the English Baccalaureate – which requires students to get a C or above in English, maths, history or geography, the sciences and a language.
Mrs French added: “80% of the girls have achieved the new Ebacc. However, I would like to add a note of caution relating to this measurement.
“In this year’s cohort one of our top-performing girls with 10 A*s would not qualify for an Ebacc as she did not study history or geography; she did however take 10 strong GCSE subjects including all three sciences and two languages. The Ebacc may become a valuable performance indicator in the future, but my concern is that it may force high achievers to turn away from equally valid subject choices.”