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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:28 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 271
Location: S East
Much of the focus on league tables has been on those at the top.

However they may be revealing about the potential failures.

Using the Financial Times Top 1000 league table (which wimps out on A-level and IB comparisons by putting the latter in their own league table ghetto), and which subjectively adjusts out "lesser" A-levels, we see the following:

St Mary's Hall, Brighton which collapsed recently was ranked
2008: 971
2007: 728
2006: 573

Leaving aside all of the perfectly valid criticisms of league tables, one can see here an academic death spiral, which led to a financial death.

This raises the question: are there any other schools out there which are showing a similar profile, or at least a comparable profile that might give cause for concern?

There is an important caveat or two to be made here:
1. I am not drawing attention to schools that have performed poorly. There are many schools that have a niche in pastoral care, special needs, sports/drama/arts/music, or acting simply as the only independent school in their area. Mediocre academic results will not endanger them. It is a school that is falling down the tables that is more of interest.
2. There may be clerical errors in the tables.

All that said here are a few possibles:

Heathfield St Mary's School Ascot (Girls)
2008 : 880
2007 : 209
2006 : 269

Could be just a very bad year, but doesn't bode well that there are no 2008 exam results (just a general narrative about being delighted) on their website (a quick look only), and their last newsletter was Summer 2008.
This school is surrounded by high octane schools (Wycombe Abbey, St Mary's Ascot, Downe House). However it is (per the FT) underperforming some state comps in the county.


Piper's Corner School, High Wycombe (Girls)
2008: 939
2007: 454
2006: 653

Also appears to have fallen behind state comps in the county.


Cambridge Centre for 6th Form Studies (Mixed)
2008: 952
2007: 776
2006: 439

Mainly overseas intake, so parents may be less sensitive to league tables.


Two other schools seem to have consistent or improving results per their websites, but have fallen down in the FT tables. This may possibly be as a result of over-reliance on soft-option subjects which the FT adjusts for.
Ealing independent College 640 from 357
New Hall School Essex 527 from 299

Anyone with direct experience of these schools?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:01 pm
Posts: 250
Location: Richmond
could it also be that they enter for igcses which 'do not count'in gvt league tables?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 271
Location: S East
No Thea, these are based on A-levels.

Also, most of the info comes from the schools. Only schools which do not cooperate with league tables have govt info in substitution.

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