A Level Results 2014 - how the UK's Boarding Schools have fared

Twitter was awash with results posts as we went through Thursday.  The most important news however was not the outcome of the exams themselves but the fact that there were many more university places available, including at Russell Group universities.  This meant that many who did not gain their offer grades still gained places at their university of choice and some of those who out-performed what was expected were able to trade up in terms of course and university.

So what can we learn from the results gained by the UK's boarding schools?
Some like Eton, Harrow and Radley seem to have ignored the internet today and no results have been published.  It will take a few more days to get these but perhaps there is a hidden message here; we simply don't have to brag about our results as we are so secure in the Independent School market.

Of those that did publish, Tonbridge School, has shown that being male is no barrier to success with 93% A* to B grades and 34% at A* while Winchester gained 51% at  D1 and D2 Pre U (equivalent to A*).

In terms of raw results the girls schools have done well.  Wycombe Abbey, probably the most selective, leads the way with 48% at A* and a stunning 90% A*/A.  The interesting question is do these results mean that Wycombe is "better" than the hugely popular but less selective Benenden and Cheltenham Ladies.  Benenden with 20% A* and Cheltenham with 29% appear to be some distance behind but with 90% of grades at Benenden being in the all important A* to B zone, and Cheltenham receiving over fifty offers from US universities, parental satisfaction is bound to be high. 

The big Co-educational schools often dominate the headlines and none more so than Wellington whose results continue to climb as its popularity soars and selection at 13+ and at 6th form gets tougher.  This year Sir Anthony's pupils have gained an impressive 95% A* to B just pipping Brighton College at 94%.  

The very popular Canford, Oundle, Uppingham, Rugby, Marlborough, Shrewsbury and King's Canterbury all sit in a zone between 82 and 85% A* to B with Haileybury, Lancing, Bradfield and Monkton Combe just behind.

And what of the International Schools?  Concord pupils yet again produced stunning A level results competing with the very best.  Queen Ethelburga's lies just below this mark and the impressive Sevenoaks comes through with an IB average of 39.1.  Of course Cardiff Sixth Form once again tops this list with a hugely impressive 95% A*/A.

So what can parents learn from this barrage of tweets and statistics?  To be honest, not a great deal.  It is clear that some schools are more selective and do get better results, but these are all high-quality schools and picking a school for your child from this group cannot, or perhaps should not, be done simply on the basis of these results.  There is so much more to each of these schools and the atmosphere and ethos at one will be quite different to another.  

Thoughts on GCSE will be published next week.

Rory I Reilly