AN INDEPENDENT school in Taunton has topped the league tables for A Level results across Somerset.

Figures released by the Department for Education show how each school and college performed for 2018/19 A Level results.

King’s College was top of the tables for average grades, points of 41.71 and B+, as well as being top for its ‘progress score’, 0.45.

The progress score tells you how much progress students who studied A levels at this school or college made between the end of key stage 4 and the end of their A level studies, compared to similar students across England.

While the school says it welcomes the news, it stated being top of the league tables isn’t the big motivator in providing ‘all-round’ education.

Richard Biggs, headteacher, said: “We were delighted with our A level results last year – the students worked exceptionally hard in the run-up to the exams, inspired by our brilliant teachers, and achieved record grades for our school.

“It is wonderful to see that this puts us at the top of the pile in Somerset. It is important to emphasise, though, that we are not motivated by league table position, and are committed to providing a world-class, all-round education that develops all aspects of a child’s character.

“The same students who achieved those wonderful results were, without exception, wholly committed to the wider life of a busy and successful school, and continued to throw themselves with gusto into their sport, drama, music and outdoor pursuits.

“I congratulate them on all of their achievements, and thank my staff warmly for the inspiration they have provided.”

The other top schools in the area based on progress were Downside School, in Radstock, with a 0.42 progress score, Well Cathedral School with a 0.4 progress score, Taunton School with 0.34 progress, and Sexey’s School, Bruton, with a 0.33 progress score.

Downside School, Wells Cathedral School, Bruton School for Girls, and Queen’s College were the other top schools based on grades with an average of a B.

Somerset County Gazette:

RANK: The top ten schools for ‘progress score’ across Somerset 

Click here to see the full table of schools and colleges based on 'progress score'. 

For some other schools in the area, average grade scores are not the only way to measure success.

Holyrood Academy, Chard, and West Somerset College, Minehead, were ranked at the bottom of the table for progress scores with -0.53 and -0.54 respectively.

But, the schools say, despite how it looks on paper, many, if not all, students went on to their top-choice universities.

David MacCormick, headteacher of Holyrood Academy, said: “Having had many very successful years of Post-16 results, last year’s outcomes did not meet our own high standards.

“Despite this, all students in the cohort achieved their first choice university, apprenticeship or employment choices.

“We have plans in place to ensure that 2020 is a really successful year for our students and that they achieve the grades that will set them up brilliantly for their futures.”

Gregg Mockridge, headteacher at West Somerset College, said: “As a small sixth form school we are proud of our students successes.

“Due to the small numbers every student can make a significant impact on our results, either in a negative or positive way. As a fully inclusive school we accept students that are not just high prior attaining.

“The value added measure is one part of the overall figure for schools. And these students exceeded all expectations at the end of GCSE. We had more students than ever achieve their first choice university choices.”

Bridgwater & Taunton College also sadly ranked last in average grade, with D-, and its progress score was -0.41. But it also saw positive outcomes for many of its students.

A spokesperson said: “We are very proud of our A Level department and continue to invest in our A Level provision. We have a continued focus on quality, standards and excellence and ensure learners are taught to the highest standards to enable them to achieve their potential.

“To this end, we have invested and will continue to invest in our teaching staff and our teaching facilities we have also increased the number of teaching hours per subject. In addition, we have a rich and diverse enrichment programme developed for our A Level students which forms the fourth element of their academic programme.

“Here at BTC we are proud of our continued focus on individuals and have developed a programme called the BTC Advantage. This is designed for learners to build their personal skills which are just as important as academic progress and supports all aspects of personal development from communication to developing aspirations.

“Last year, 98 per cent of our A Level students went on to study at their first destination choice, and students achieved a 100 per cent pass rate in the majority of subjects."

"In a number of subjects, students achieved an extremely high number of A* to B grades. Of note are chemistry, French, design and technology, mathematics and further mathematics.”