Do more expensive private schools produce better GCSE grades?
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Do more expensive private schools produce better GCSE grades?

Do more expensive private schools produce better GCSE grades?

Attending a more expensive private school in the UK does not always translate to better GCSE grades, a new analysis by The Telegraph has found.

The best value private school – one whose fees are among the lowest but which earns the highest proportion of top exam grades – identified was Bristol’s all-girls Badminton School. Here, more than three quarters (77 percent) of pupils achieved A-A*s or 7-9s in their GCSEs this year. The school’s fees are £5,475 a term for day pupils and £10,765 for boarders.

Headteacher Rebecca Tear said that her pupils don’t just “jump through exam board hoops”, but enjoy a “hands-on” approach to their education.

“I really strongly believe that to learn, you have to be a little bit uncomfortable, you have to go through your comfort zone and push yourself. Here, because we’re all so familiar, they are prepared to take those risks, to ask their teachers and ask each other.”

The analysis found parents are forking out more than £27,000 a year on fees at private schools where less than one-fifth (12 percent) of their GCSE exams will earn them top grades.

London boarding school DLD College charges £17,666 a term, the most expensive among similar institutions in the country. However, only slightly more than one in four (28.07 percent) of GCSEs are awarded top grades.

At Bellersby College London, one of the most expensive day schools in the country which charges £9,020 per term for day pupils, students scored among the lowest proportions of As and A*s or or grades 7-9, in their GCSEs.

That doesn’t mean there are no private schools with high fees and high proportions of top grades. Winchester College is an all-boys school with £13,304 fees per term and 87.3 percent of GCSEs here received top grades.

Bellersby College and DLD College both said that the majority of their pupils are from outside of the EU, and don’t speak English as their first language.

A spokesman for Bellersby College London said: “Arrival at Bellerbys is often their first time away from home, meaning they have to make academic, cultural and language adjustments.

“We specialise in caring for these young adults, tutoring them and preparing them for university entry and the future world of work. 399 of our 2019 graduates progressed to a top 50 UK university. We’re extremely proud of every cohort.”

DLD College said they work with a number of students who have found education “challenging”, and success cannot be measured by looking at grades alone.

Over the last two decades, fees at UK private schools have increased 403 percent and are now more than five times the 1990 average, according to research by UK investment house Killik & Co. Many UK parents are priced out by these fee hikes, while schools are increasingly signing up more international students.

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