Girls' school tops A-level table

A girls' boarding school has topped an A-level league table for the fifth consecutive year.

Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire took the first spot again after pupils racked up a string of A* and A grades.

Each student gained an average combined A and AS-level UCAS point score of 540. This is equivalent to almost four A* A-level grades each. In total, 85 sixth-formers achieved 284 A* and A grades between them.

Wycombe Abbey, a private school charging up to £10,650 per year for boarders, and £7,990 for day pupils, teaches girls aged 11 to 18. It has been consistently at the top of a league table of private schools for five years.

The table, based on data provided by the Independent Schools Council, reveals that Concord College, a boarding school in Shropshire catering to boys and girls aged 13 to 19, was second nationally for A-level results this year.

Principal Neil Hawkins said the college's students had worked "incredibly hard" for their grades and put the school's success partly down to the environment created by a boarding school, adding: "There's that opportunity to create a community where there's the expectation of success. That certainly is what we're able to do here."

Concord's 149 A-level students achieved an average AS and A-level UCAS points score of 501, and between them notched up 204 A* grades and 211 As.

Tim Hands, Master of Magdalen College School in Oxford, claimed there had been "grade deflation" in both A-levels and GCSEs this year.

"This year's A-level results apparently provoked little controversy, whereas this year's GCSE results have provoked much more comment," he said. "This is surprising since the same principles seem to have been behind both sets of results - this principle is grade deflation.

"What one generally wants to do with people, especially young people, is to encourage. Is it a good form of encouragement, without warning, to shift grade boundaries in such a way to leave young people disappointed and feeling their efforts may not have been worthwhile? A-levels and GCSEs should be an academic, not a political, matter."