Strong A-level year for independent schools despite overall dip

While top grades have fallen nationally, 2019 marks a strong year for many independent schools

The proportion of students achieving grade A or higher at A-level has fallen to its lowest level since 2007.

The BBC reported that this year 25.5% got the top grades, while this percentage was 25.3% in 2007.

However, in the independent sector, 2019 has been the strongest year for many schools.

At Ardingly College, it has been the strongest A*-A performance since records began at the school with 54% of students achieving A*-A, versus 46% last year. 81% received A*-B, which is also an increase on last year. Girls achieved 59% A*-A and boys 54%.

With girls leading this year’s results nationally, girls’ boarding school Heathfield has also reported success, with nearly 40% of its students’ securing A*/A, 64.4% A*-B and 82.2% A*-C. In English, all girls gained A*-A, the department’s most successful result yet.

It wasn’t just the girls securing top results, as 44% of all grades at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School (Habs) were A* and 76% of all grades were A*-A. 100% of drama entries at Habs were awarded A*-A, as were all design technology, Spanish and Russian grades.

It was at Brighton College that the most common A-level grade was an A*, breaking the school’s record.


Key national findings:

  • Girls narrowly reclaimed the lead from boys, with 25.5% achieving A* and A grades compared with 25.4% of boys
  • The overall pass rate remains the same as last year at 97.6% for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Entries to Spanish have overtaken French for the first time, making it the most popular language at A-level
  • For the first time, the number of girls taking the three sciences has overtaken boys at 50.3% compared with 49.6%
  • Although far more boys – 30,159 – still took physics A-level, compared with 8,799 girls

More results will be celebrated in the October issue of Independent Education Today.