HMC Schools Top Value-Added Tables

A survey showing that schools in membership of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) are better at adding value in the sixth form than selective grammar schools is released today (Friday 19 March).

Most HMC schools score highly in performance tables of raw A Level results and equivalent qualifications. But because their pupils also generally achieve very good GCSE results, it had been anticipated that their added value, from Key Stage 4 to Key Stage 5, would appear less impressive, particularly with the cap on KS 5 achievement  caused by the absence, to date, of an A* at A level.

Now an analysis of performance figures for 2009 examinations, conducted for HMC, shows that:

  • 16% of the 210 HMC schools in England figure in the top 5% of English schools for added value from KS4 to KS5;
  • More than half (55%) of HMC schools are in the top 25% of English schools and more than three-quarters (77%) are in the top 40%;
  • No selective grammar schools figure in the top 5% of English schools;
  • Only 11 (6.7% of the 164) grammar schools figure in the top 25% of English schools.

HMC Chairman Andrew Grant, Headmaster of St Albans School, Hertfordshire, commented: “These figures lay to rest an important myth about HMC schools. They show how much of their pupils’ success is down to what the school has added, not how bright the pupils are when they arrive.  Many HMC schools do a very good job indeed for pupils of a wide range of abilities, but this survey shows that even high-performing students have their achievements maximised by a good independent school.

“Comparing their performance with selective schools in the maintained sector leads to the conclusion that selection is not the only factor in high performance; it is independence that really makes the difference. Many HMC schools are considerably less selective than state grammar schools, but with excellent teaching and attention to the learning needs of individual pupils, add value throughout the sixth form on top of the value added to GCSE.”