County schools come out on top in league tables
CHELTENHAM Ladies' College and Pate's Grammar School have been ranked top of the class.
The £8,000-a-term Cheltenham Ladies' College has been named the top independent secondary school in the South West by The Sunday Times.
Meanwhile, Pate's Grammar School has been ranked second out of state secondary schools in the area in the national newspaper's Parent Power table.
The list, in its 20th year, is based on schools' performance in GCSE and A-levels.
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Shaun Fenton, headteacher of Pate's, in Hester's Way, said he was delighted by the results, but admitted he was always suspicious of league tables.
He said: "I'm focused on looking after individual children and creating lifestyle choices for them – that's more important than a league table rating."
He said the school had enjoyed record exam results this year, with more than 30 pupils going on to Oxford or Cambridge. "Those exam results open doors of opportunity on the back of the hard work of teachers and students and the support of parents," he added.
In its review, The Sunday Times said: "At Pate's, more than nine out of 10 A-level papers achieved A* to B grades – the 91.4 per cent figure up on the 90.8 per cent of papers achieving A and B grades last year.
"The school's GCSE performance, with 85.5 per cent of GCSE entries gaining the top two grades, was virtually unchanged year-on-year."
Colyton Grammar School in Devon was top in the state schools' category in the South West.
Cheltenham Ladies' College, whose past pupils include actress Kristin Scott-Thomas and socialite Tamara Beckwith, beat schools such as Badminton School, in Bristol, and The Maynard School, Exeter, to sit top of independent schools in the South West. The facility in Bayshill Road charges up to £25,000 a year for boarders.
The Sunday Times reviewers said: "The school has a worldwide reputation for academic excellence and this year of the 94.6 per cent of entries awarded A* to B grades at A-level, 77.8 per cent were A* or A grades.
"At GCSE, 66.6 per cent of entries were A*, demonstrating once again that outstanding standards are set at the college."
Principal Vicky Tuck said: "I'm delighted. The essential thing about a school is its community of girls who are keen to learn and want to do well and staff who are very dedicated, knowledgeable and enthusiastic."
Eastington Primary School, in Stonehouse, came third of the top ten state primary schools in the South West and Foxmoor Primary School, in Stroud, was fourth. Gloucester's High School for Girls was seventh in the same category as Pate's Grammar School, while Sir Thomas Rich's School, in Gloucester, was ninth.