Do Not Believe Everything You Read

I am spitting mad. Once again, The Times has got it wrong, either deliberately due to editorial bias or though lazy research. If you look at page three today there is a huge headline that says

State grammar schools beat private sector for A levels

Well it just is not true in this part of the world and I wrote to them today to say so. It will be interesting to see if they publish this letter.

Dear Sir

State grammar schools beat private sector for A levels: struggling private sector is outperformed

In this part of Grammar School dominated Kent, it is the independent schools that top your own Times Online A Level league tables. Despite having a much broader ability intake, students at Ashford School achieved more A grades than any of Grammar Schools listed and more A and Bs than all but three in those well known deprived areas of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. The Grammar Schools around Ashford are excellent and we work together in helping to educate the children of this area.

I would hope that your education correspondent would know that many, if not most, universities do not make offers of places based on UCAS points but rather on grades achieved in specific subjects. Indeed, if I wanted to boost my school’s standing in the tables I would tell my students all to do five A levels rather than offer that option and follow various other ploys. I’m more interested in turning out well educated, confident youngsters who have experienced music, sport, and drama and other learning that is adventurous and risky. Our evidence is that this approach enhances their chances of getting to the best universities and, despite the recession, demand for places here is strong.