BY CHRISTINA WHITE
ONE OF England's leading independent schools has announced it will not be releasing its A-level results for publication in media league tables this Summer.
Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire, a co-educational Jesuit foundation, confirmed its decision in a letter to parents of pupils at the school on August 19.
In a statement, headmaster Adrian Aylward said he and the board of governors had made the decision not because they didn't believe in accountablity but because the league-grading of schools was "intrinsically antieducational".
He said: "As a Jesuit school we are especially conscious of our responsibility to educate the whole person; Stonyhurst's commitment to this is unequivocal and uncompromising."
He added "Many heads feel that the league tables, into which schools are placed on release of their results to the media, are misleading and do little justice to the real work of education taking place in so many schools."
A similar decision had been taken by other independent schools he said. Stonyhurst's results will be published in the national and local press in November by the Department of Education and Skills. Mr Aylward had already signalled his dissatisfaction with the league table system. Speaking at the school's annual prize giving in June this year he said he was considering opting out of the "media driven league table feast" in line with other independent schools.
Catholic schools have historically enjoyed good exam results both within the private and public sectors. At the Marist Convent school in Ascot pupils celebrated a 100 per cent pass rate. At New Hall School in Chelmsford the overall pass rate this year was 97 per cent, with 82 per cent of grades A-C. Headmistress Katherine Jeffrey disputed media reports that the exams were getting easier. She said the results were a credit to the abilities of pupils and the dedication of staff but she acknowledged the limitations of assessment based on exam results alone.