Headmaster’s View on Latest A-Level Results

I am very proud of our sixth form students who are today enjoying the fruits of their terrific efforts over the last two years. This was a large cohort of students of a broad range of ability and we are celebrating both with our academic high flyers and those for whom more modest grades are a real triumph. At the top end, I am delighted that all six of our Oxbridge students have achieved their offers and thrilled that no fewer than 25 students have achieved 3 A/A* grades or better. The top 100 students in the cohort achieved close on 80% A*-B across their exam entries. Equally, given a 99% pass rate, there are many students who have made a super contribution to school life and whose C and D grades are a great testament to their effort.  I enjoyed my morning catching up with many of our sixth form leavers and their parents and was once again struck by the strong personal relationships that our students have built up with the teachers who have guided and supported them over the last couple of years. It’s obvious that knowing and caring for students as individuals is a key ingredient for success.

With over two thirds of all exams graded A*, A or B, a strong increase on last year, it seems that the move to linear A levels is playing to our strengths.  I expected this to be so, but was nonetheless a little nervous ahead of the results given all the changes.  The new courses are designed to be taught and examined over two years. It has been a joy for our teachers to claw back additional teaching time by not having the prepare students for AS exams in the lower sixth which do not count towards the full A Level and risk harming their university prospects.  It has meant a more enjoyable educational experience for our sixth formers who have been able to improve their holistic grasp of the subject. The move has also given our students the space to make the most of their individual talents taking advantage of the many enrichment options on offer, and developing the leadership and employability skills which in the end will be just as important as their academic qualifications. Their passion for the creative and performing arts, sport and outdoor pursuits has been exceptional, enhancing our reputation as a leading school in the South West committed to educating the whole person, mind, body and spirit.

It won’t be long before we receive the value-added report which analyses how our students have fared relative to those of similar ability across the country.  Our rolling average over the last three years places us in the top quartile nationally and I am optimistic that the forthcoming report will highlight that our teaching, tracking and intervention are making a strong difference.

I have heard rave reviews since the cast of 18 TS thespians have returned from the Edinburgh Fringe, performing to sell out audiences.  This is worthy of a separate blog so watch this space….