South Wilts tops school league tables

First published in Education by

A SALISBURY school has topped the Government’s league tables for GCSEs, English Baccalaureate and A-levels in Wiltshire, according to figures released on Thursday.

South Wilts Grammar School came top in the county for GCSE results, with 99 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including maths and English.

The school was also at the top of the table for the percentage of Key Stage 4 pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate, at 76 per cent, and it also came top for its A-level results, with an average point score of 977.4.

Bishop Wordsworth’s School, which came second in the county’s list for GCSE results last year, is not included in the this year’s tables as its students take iGCSE qualifications instead.

Bishop Wordsworth’s, the city’s boys’ grammar school, came fifth in the county for A-levels with an average point score of 919.8, and The Godolphin School was ninth with 879.2.

Wellington Academy in Ludgershall was among the lowest in the county for GCSE results, with 37 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C including English and maths.

Sarum Academy was also near the bottom of the league, with 50 per cent, while The Stonehenge School was at 57 per cent. Across Wiltshire, more pupils than ever achieved good GCSE and A-level grades.

The performance tables show the number of students achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE including English and maths has gone up by 1.7 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

And the number of students in the county achieving any five A* to C grade GCSEs has gone up by 1.1 per cent.

Students have also maintained high levels of achievements in post-16 exam results, with 83.9 per cent achieving two or three A* to E grade A-levels. Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet member for children services at Wiltshire Council, said: “The number of Wiltshire pupils achieving good grades at GCSE has increased this year and more students than ever are making the right progress from primary to secondary.

“These positive results are not just good news for all the schools involved but for each individual student these results prove an excellent springboard for their future education and careers and I would like to congratulate all these hard working students.”

Results based on GCSEs at grades A* to C (of 33 schools ranked in Wiltshire):

South Wilts Grammar School (1)

Leehurst Swan (3)

St Edmund’s (8)

St Joseph’s (14)

Avon Valley College (15)

Wyvern College (16)

The Trafalgar School (21)

The Stonehenge School (27)

Sarum Academy (29)

The Wellington Academy (33)

Results based on average point score per A-level student (of 28 schools and colleges ranked in Wiltshire):

South Wilts Grammar School (1)

Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School (4)

The Godolphin School (9)

The Wellington Academy (26)

Avon Valley College (27)

Wiltshire College (28)

Comments (14)

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6:02pm Tue 28 Jan 14

hillyanne says...

Hardly surprising is it?
If there was a true comprehensive system in place(no creaming off or fee paying),these able pupils would help to lift the standard all round.
Other countries manage it.
Hardly surprising is it? If there was a true comprehensive system in place(no creaming off or fee paying),these able pupils would help to lift the standard all round. Other countries manage it. hillyanne
  • Score: 9

9:06pm Tue 28 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

hillyanne wrote:
Hardly surprising is it?
If there was a true comprehensive system in place(no creaming off or fee paying),these able pupils would help to lift the standard all round.
Other countries manage it.
Your observation is valid when you look at the results for Wiltshire college for example. Constant cuts in staffing and funding over the past 4 years are clearly reflected in the results obtained. No wonder most Salisbury students are bussed outside of the county. So what is being done to prevent Wiltshire college from deteriorating further? Opening a UTC and another sixth form. How does that help Wiltshire college?
Wiltshire college Salisbury going downhill plus, no university in Salisbury, is there an opportunity here? Universities are good for regeneration as well as education.
[quote][p][bold]hillyanne[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising is it? If there was a true comprehensive system in place(no creaming off or fee paying),these able pupils would help to lift the standard all round. Other countries manage it.[/p][/quote]Your observation is valid when you look at the results for Wiltshire college for example. Constant cuts in staffing and funding over the past 4 years are clearly reflected in the results obtained. No wonder most Salisbury students are bussed outside of the county. So what is being done to prevent Wiltshire college from deteriorating further? Opening a UTC and another sixth form. How does that help Wiltshire college? Wiltshire college Salisbury going downhill plus, no university in Salisbury, is there an opportunity here? Universities are good for regeneration as well as education. karlmarx
  • Score: 9

5:06am Thu 30 Jan 14

IanMcL says...

Of course they should be top. Not only do they cream off the top few percent of children from Wiltshire and Hampshire, they go on to kick them out at A level, if they have failed to educate them enough to have reached their own benchmark!

So if they fail you from 11-16, they won't allow you carry on, to blot their A level achievement target!

Scandalous.

It undermines the whole of the Education system, as the 80+ % not in Grammar school education are immediately not mixing with the best teachers (in theory) and other clever kids, to influence them. Not to mention the parents, who add drive to the schools.

What I can never understand is why the 80% put up with it, despite short changing their own kids as a result.
Of course they should be top. Not only do they cream off the top few percent of children from Wiltshire and Hampshire, they go on to kick them out at A level, if they have failed to educate them enough to have reached their own benchmark! So if they fail you from 11-16, they won't allow you carry on, to blot their A level achievement target! Scandalous. It undermines the whole of the Education system, as the 80+ % not in Grammar school education are immediately not mixing with the best teachers (in theory) and other clever kids, to influence them. Not to mention the parents, who add drive to the schools. What I can never understand is why the 80% put up with it, despite short changing their own kids as a result. IanMcL
  • Score: 7

8:50am Thu 30 Jan 14

Richard Clewer says...

Personally I am not going to attack a school for succeeding as well as South Wilts have. The point of education is not to provide an average service all round but to get the greatest potential out of every child. That does not always mean exam results.

When the Grammar schools are out performing the private ones it seems to me they are doing their job extremely well.
Personally I am not going to attack a school for succeeding as well as South Wilts have. The point of education is not to provide an average service all round but to get the greatest potential out of every child. That does not always mean exam results. When the Grammar schools are out performing the private ones it seems to me they are doing their job extremely well. Richard Clewer
  • Score: 0

10:53am Thu 30 Jan 14

gingin says...

Richard Clewer wrote:
Personally I am not going to attack a school for succeeding as well as South Wilts have. The point of education is not to provide an average service all round but to get the greatest potential out of every child. That does not always mean exam results.

When the Grammar schools are out performing the private ones it seems to me they are doing their job extremely well.
The point is Richard that if we had a fully comprehensive system it would not be providing an average education all round. No one is against good grades but it is to be expected when the top percent is in one place.

You deliberately find fault with everyone's comments who are not Tory, it is so obvious I am surprised anyone takes any notice of your "spin" anymore!

Getting personal and slinging mud at every opportunity does you no favours at all.
[quote][p][bold]Richard Clewer[/bold] wrote: Personally I am not going to attack a school for succeeding as well as South Wilts have. The point of education is not to provide an average service all round but to get the greatest potential out of every child. That does not always mean exam results. When the Grammar schools are out performing the private ones it seems to me they are doing their job extremely well.[/p][/quote]The point is Richard that if we had a fully comprehensive system it would not be providing an average education all round. No one is against good grades but it is to be expected when the top percent is in one place. You deliberately find fault with everyone's comments who are not Tory, it is so obvious I am surprised anyone takes any notice of your "spin" anymore! Getting personal and slinging mud at every opportunity does you no favours at all. gingin
  • Score: 5

11:24am Thu 30 Jan 14

Richard Clewer says...

I am not slinging any mud here, I am trying to point out that attacking our most successful school for being successful is not something I agree with.

There are some people who post regularly on the journal site attacking anything involving Wiltshire Council, change, or success, I try to explain the actual situation. Is my comment that we should support our schools so unpalatable that it is described as slinging mud?
I am not slinging any mud here, I am trying to point out that attacking our most successful school for being successful is not something I agree with. There are some people who post regularly on the journal site attacking anything involving Wiltshire Council, change, or success, I try to explain the actual situation. Is my comment that we should support our schools so unpalatable that it is described as slinging mud? Richard Clewer
  • Score: -2

5:47pm Thu 30 Jan 14

gingin says...

No denying South Wilts is the best school however the system is grossly unfair. Having lived somewhere that operated a proper comprehensive system and indeed had the benefit from that system believe it gives a better chance for the many not just the few.
No denying South Wilts is the best school however the system is grossly unfair. Having lived somewhere that operated a proper comprehensive system and indeed had the benefit from that system believe it gives a better chance for the many not just the few. gingin
  • Score: 10

5:57pm Thu 30 Jan 14

gingin says...

Forgot to say people comment on here about Wiltshire Council because they don't agree with how they are operating. Some don't like change depending on what it is but whatever comments are against WC they are entitled to have their say and are not just accepting of how things are being dealt with.

The allowances fiasco deserved all the bad publicity it got. There is never an excuse for greed or indeed making a stupid decision when everyone else has to accept 1% or be made redundant. Richard if you think the comments on this site are bad you should take a look at the Wiltshire Times site. Be thankful non of us are that rude.
Forgot to say people comment on here about Wiltshire Council because they don't agree with how they are operating. Some don't like change depending on what it is but whatever comments are against WC they are entitled to have their say and are not just accepting of how things are being dealt with. The allowances fiasco deserved all the bad publicity it got. There is never an excuse for greed or indeed making a stupid decision when everyone else has to accept 1% or be made redundant. Richard if you think the comments on this site are bad you should take a look at the Wiltshire Times site. Be thankful non of us are that rude. gingin
  • Score: 11

6:18pm Thu 30 Jan 14

karlmarx says...

If it was a level playing field I would agree with Cllr Clewer but, even the Conservative party are questioning how the 'selection' process for Grammar schools is bring abused and hijacked...

Why is there renewed controversy over grammar schools?

Critics of the system say these schools have been "hijacked" by the middle classes. Many parents have their children privately and intensively coached for the 11-plus exam, often from the age of eight or younger. Anecdotally, there is evidence that some parents put their children into a private primary school to increase their chances of performing well in the 11-plus exam. With the bar so high, critics say the system disadvantages children from less affluent or ambitious homes. Research suggests children from poor homes who get in to grammar schools flourish there. The problem is, relatively few get in. There are also concerns for late developers: opponents of the system say it "writes off" children who do not get a grammar school place at a very tender age and brands the majority, who do not "pass" the 11-plus, as failures.
The Conservatives are abandoning their support for grammar schools, saying academic selection is unfair to poorer families and limits social mobility. Education spokesman David Willetts said his party wanted to back the new city academies in England.
The Tories now want to back academies over grammar schools. Why?

City academies - now just called academies - are one of Tony Blair's flagship policies and are designed to raise standards in less advantaged communities. They serve very different social groups to grammar schools. By backing academies over grammars, the Tories are moving away from supporting a system that is dominated by the middle classes to one which targets more vulnerable social groups.

It's not often I agree with the Conservatives but, they sure got the Grammar School scenario worked out. As the UK languishes in 26th place in the world on education let's take a glimpse at how the successful countries manage, Finland for example...

For any British teachers feeling the strain, reading about their colleagues in Finland may be too much to bear.
In Finland there are no school inspectors, no league tables, and no exams until the age of 16.
Since they instigated wide-ranging reforms 40 years ago, children are not sorted into sets, nor do they spend their evenings in intensive cramming sessions – there is no private tuition industry, and charging school fees is illegal. Everyone is educated in their local comprehensive. Homework, even for a 15-year-old, is limited to 30 minutes.

Now that is what I call a level playing field and, the educational results are astounding, for all pupils.
If it was a level playing field I would agree with Cllr Clewer but, even the Conservative party are questioning how the 'selection' process for Grammar schools is bring abused and hijacked... Why is there renewed controversy over grammar schools? Critics of the system say these schools have been "hijacked" by the middle classes. Many parents have their children privately and intensively coached for the 11-plus exam, often from the age of eight or younger. Anecdotally, there is evidence that some parents put their children into a private primary school to increase their chances of performing well in the 11-plus exam. With the bar so high, critics say the system disadvantages children from less affluent or ambitious homes. Research suggests children from poor homes who get in to grammar schools flourish there. The problem is, relatively few get in. There are also concerns for late developers: opponents of the system say it "writes off" children who do not get a grammar school place at a very tender age and brands the majority, who do not "pass" the 11-plus, as failures. The Conservatives are abandoning their support for grammar schools, saying academic selection is unfair to poorer families and limits social mobility. Education spokesman David Willetts said his party wanted to back the new city academies in England. The Tories now want to back academies over grammar schools. Why? City academies - now just called academies - are one of Tony Blair's flagship policies and are designed to raise standards in less advantaged communities. They serve very different social groups to grammar schools. By backing academies over grammars, the Tories are moving away from supporting a system that is dominated by the middle classes to one which targets more vulnerable social groups. It's not often I agree with the Conservatives but, they sure got the Grammar School scenario worked out. As the UK languishes in 26th place in the world on education let's take a glimpse at how the successful countries manage, Finland for example... For any British teachers feeling the strain, reading about their colleagues in Finland may be too much to bear. In Finland there are no school inspectors, no league tables, and no exams until the age of 16. Since they instigated wide-ranging reforms 40 years ago, children are not sorted into sets, nor do they spend their evenings in intensive cramming sessions – there is no private tuition industry, and charging school fees is illegal. Everyone is educated in their local comprehensive. Homework, even for a 15-year-old, is limited to 30 minutes. Now that is what I call a level playing field and, the educational results are astounding, for all pupils. karlmarx
  • Score: 12

8:13am Fri 31 Jan 14

Champers says...

Good point Karl.

Also, it might be worth asking the grammar schools, what proportion of their pupil are receiving free school meals. I bet it won't represent the Salisbury area average. I've slightly mixed feelings as my daughter went to SWGS from a local state primary school. However, in her year group TWO THIRDS of her year group came from private prep schools. Kind of defeats the whole, original ethos of what grammar schools were; an opportunity for the brighter, less well off children to have access to a more academic education.
Good point Karl. Also, it might be worth asking the grammar schools, what proportion of their pupil are receiving free school meals. I bet it won't represent the Salisbury area average. I've slightly mixed feelings as my daughter went to SWGS from a local state primary school. However, in her year group TWO THIRDS of her year group came from private prep schools. Kind of defeats the whole, original ethos of what grammar schools were; an opportunity for the brighter, less well off children to have access to a more academic education. Champers
  • Score: 9

1:11pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Richard Clewer says...

Karl, I am close to agreeing with you on this one. My son went through the grammar application a year and a half ago and my daughter will this year. I have done a great deal of work with them to help. There is a clear advantage to those children whose parents are motivated or able to help them. The schools themselves are aware of this and are setting up a subsidised course that everyone could access to try to level things off.

I am also appalled that our state primary schools do not all offer help to children they see as able to apply to the grammars. I gather it is seen as unfair to those who are not as bright which sounds like nonsense to me and leaves it up to the parents.

Having said all that I think the principle of the Grammar schools is very good. By putting children in with people of similar ability you allow them all to work at a similar level with less disruption or ability to coast along with making them all feel they are capable, children who are struggling in a class where they are not as able as others have a very tough time of it.

The problem is that the playing field for preparation of the entry needs to be as level as possible at that is really down to the Primary schools and Grammars themselves.

Champers, I would not assume that everyone who sends their children to a private school are well off. Some make serious sacrifices to do it and brighter children or those from poorer families often get support with fees.
Karl, I am close to agreeing with you on this one. My son went through the grammar application a year and a half ago and my daughter will this year. I have done a great deal of work with them to help. There is a clear advantage to those children whose parents are motivated or able to help them. The schools themselves are aware of this and are setting up a subsidised course that everyone could access to try to level things off. I am also appalled that our state primary schools do not all offer help to children they see as able to apply to the grammars. I gather it is seen as unfair to those who are not as bright which sounds like nonsense to me and leaves it up to the parents. Having said all that I think the principle of the Grammar schools is very good. By putting children in with people of similar ability you allow them all to work at a similar level with less disruption or ability to coast along with making them all feel they are capable, children who are struggling in a class where they are not as able as others have a very tough time of it. The problem is that the playing field for preparation of the entry needs to be as level as possible at that is really down to the Primary schools and Grammars themselves. Champers, I would not assume that everyone who sends their children to a private school are well off. Some make serious sacrifices to do it and brighter children or those from poorer families often get support with fees. Richard Clewer
  • Score: -1

4:56pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Grampie says...

Why can't everybody have a grammar school education?

Why in this day and age do we have this archaic system of streaming and telling eleven year olds that they are failures because they cannot get into the grammar school?

Surely we should be giving those who fail the entry exam more priorities and lower class sizes than those who pass?

If everybody passed the entry exam, where would they put them all and how would they reject those because the numbers were too many.

Education of children is about learning about life as well as the three r's and how can youngsters learn about life if they are brought up with a small section of life, usually middle class, that is not representative of society?

Congratulations to South Wilts and I know a lot of women who went there and they are nice people (most of them), but you don't spend much time teaching people with learning difficulties and those who cannot pass exams at eleven years of age.

As for private education, you only have to look at those in Government to see what a failure that is.
Why can't everybody have a grammar school education? Why in this day and age do we have this archaic system of streaming and telling eleven year olds that they are failures because they cannot get into the grammar school? Surely we should be giving those who fail the entry exam more priorities and lower class sizes than those who pass? If everybody passed the entry exam, where would they put them all and how would they reject those because the numbers were too many. Education of children is about learning about life as well as the three r's and how can youngsters learn about life if they are brought up with a small section of life, usually middle class, that is not representative of society? Congratulations to South Wilts and I know a lot of women who went there and they are nice people (most of them), but you don't spend much time teaching people with learning difficulties and those who cannot pass exams at eleven years of age. As for private education, you only have to look at those in Government to see what a failure that is. Grampie
  • Score: 0

12:12am Sat 1 Feb 14

karlmarx says...

"There is a clear advantage to those children whose parents are motivated or able to help them."

Every parent wants their children to do well in education so the motivation is there, sadly it's easy to get de-motivated when you realise and understand exactly what you are up against. Parents who are motivated AND can afford to send their children to private schools or afford private tuition and coaching and the associated practice papers etc... have a distinct advantage over those who can't. The system then implies that the 11+ selects on the basis of intelligence and not this intensive teaching and coaching prior to the test.
Which leads us onto being able to help them. Not all parents can afford this, most try but, if you both work full time and can only manage to keep the wolf from the door and, maybe you need assistance from benefits to do this then I'm afraid any education for your children is your target, never mind one that is paid for.

So to sum up;

Yes, Grammar schools very good education

No, the 11+ doesn't test intelligence, it tests the parents ability to pay for teaching and tuition to bring the children up to the standard required to pass this test.

Every parent wants the best education for their child but, this has to be taken within the context of their social standing.
Children from poorer backgrounds can make it through education and onto higher education, degree level and above, I know from personal experience but, this route needs more support and encouragement to make up for the lack of finance.

"By putting children in with people of similar ability you allow them all to work at a similar level with less disruption or ability to coast along with making them all feel they are capable, children who are struggling in a class where they are not as able as others have a very tough time of it."

Again, I must question the use of the term 'ability', obviously those who have received the best teaching, training and coaching are better than a child that hasn't. Virtually every child is able to attain a good education given these circumstances but, these circumstances are not there for all. The way to ensure all have this' ability' is to for all to receive the teaching. training and coaching to pass the 11+ which, isn't feasible under our current education system and economic climate.

There would then be no need to segregate those who don't have this 'ability' from those that do have this 'ability'. That said, from my limited teaching experience I have discovered that children and adults learn more from each other than from listening to someone stood at the front of a classroom in front of a black board (are we still allowed to call them that?)
So segregation doesn't necessarily mean that the best are held back by the worst, it works both ways, besides, with a level playing field at the primary stage of education there would be less differences in 'ability' to be concerned with later.
"There is a clear advantage to those children whose parents are motivated or able to help them." Every parent wants their children to do well in education so the motivation is there, sadly it's easy to get de-motivated when you realise and understand exactly what you are up against. Parents who are motivated AND can afford to send their children to private schools or afford private tuition and coaching and the associated practice papers etc... have a distinct advantage over those who can't. The system then implies that the 11+ selects on the basis of intelligence and not this intensive teaching and coaching prior to the test. Which leads us onto being able to help them. Not all parents can afford this, most try but, if you both work full time and can only manage to keep the wolf from the door and, maybe you need assistance from benefits to do this then I'm afraid any education for your children is your target, never mind one that is paid for. So to sum up; Yes, Grammar schools very good education No, the 11+ doesn't test intelligence, it tests the parents ability to pay for teaching and tuition to bring the children up to the standard required to pass this test. Every parent wants the best education for their child but, this has to be taken within the context of their social standing. Children from poorer backgrounds can make it through education and onto higher education, degree level and above, I know from personal experience but, this route needs more support and encouragement to make up for the lack of finance. "By putting children in with people of similar ability you allow them all to work at a similar level with less disruption or ability to coast along with making them all feel they are capable, children who are struggling in a class where they are not as able as others have a very tough time of it." Again, I must question the use of the term 'ability', obviously those who have received the best teaching, training and coaching are better than a child that hasn't. Virtually every child is able to attain a good education given these circumstances but, these circumstances are not there for all. The way to ensure all have this' ability' is to for all to receive the teaching. training and coaching to pass the 11+ which, isn't feasible under our current education system and economic climate. There would then be no need to segregate those who don't have this 'ability' from those that do have this 'ability'. That said, from my limited teaching experience I have discovered that children and adults learn more from each other than from listening to someone stood at the front of a classroom in front of a black board (are we still allowed to call them that?) So segregation doesn't necessarily mean that the best are held back by the worst, it works both ways, besides, with a level playing field at the primary stage of education there would be less differences in 'ability' to be concerned with later. karlmarx
  • Score: 1

2:05am Tue 4 Feb 14

karlmarx says...

"State schools in England should be more like private schools, says Education Secretary Michael Gove."

Fantastic. So he's going to reduce class sizes and increase school resources. Finally he's talking sense!
"State schools in England should be more like private schools, says Education Secretary Michael Gove." Fantastic. So he's going to reduce class sizes and increase school resources. Finally he's talking sense! karlmarx
  • Score: -1

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