Schools to be ranked by number of academic A-levels

In an article in the Telegraph, 21/01/13, Graeme Paton reports that schools and colleges will be ranked by the number of teenagers taking academic A-levels as part of a Government drive to get more pupils fully prepared for top universities.

For the first time, official league tables will feature data on the proportion of “Russell Group ready” teenagers at each institution. The rankings – being released on Thursday – will reveal how many students gained good A-level passes in a string of rigorous subjects such as maths, English, the sciences, history, geography and languages.

The reforms are being introduced to ensure colleges and school sixth-forms encourage more 16- to 18-year-olds to take courses that act as a gateway to the most prestigious degree courses. Reforms to league tables follow the publication of research by the Russell Group, which represents institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, showing that students taking academic subjects are much more likely to win places. Admissions tutors have warned that those studying more than one “soft” A-level – including media studies, art and design, photography and business studies – could miss out.

This week’s tables will seek to address the concerns by showing how many students at each and school and college in England gained at least two As and a B at A-level in so-called “facilitating subjects” favoured by top universities.

But Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, said: “We want parents to be able to identify those schools and colleges where A-level pupils achieve great results in the key academic subjects that most often lead to the top universities.

"We are also reforming the post-16 tables so that in future schools and colleges focus on the very best vocational qualifications that are most valued by employers and lead to good jobs.

"Whether students take an academic or a vocational route, or a mix of both, qualifications must be rigorous and standards must be high – and we want to shine a light on the schools and colleges which do well."

The performance tables will show how many students get AAB or better in maths and further maths, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and modern and classical languages. A separate indicator will show how many students achieved grades AAB across all subjects.

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor, The Telegraph. Click here to read the article © The Telegraph