Schools celebrate record A-level haul

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2008, 12:00am

English Schools Foundation schools and one international school were yesterday celebrating another clutch of 'best ever' British A-level results, in a year when more A grades were awarded than ever.

Nearly 600 students at four ESF secondary schools and 51 students at the German Swiss International School were among hundreds of thousands of university hopefuls who picked up their results slips.

At German Swiss, two out of every three results was an A. The school attained a 100 per cent pass rate, with just under 88 per cent of marks being an A, B or C. The figures were up from 59.4 per cent and 80.3 per cent, respectively, last year, when the school also attained a 100 per cent pass rate.

Mary Peart, head of the school's English section, described the results as a 'new high', saying the improved performance had been expected due to a 'very strong' group of students.

Two students at the school attained six A grades plus a further two As at AS-level.

The ESF was also hailing its 'strongest results ever' in the final year that its students sit the British A-levels - from next year students will sit the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB).

South Island School student Jeremiah Cheung Yee-man, 17, gained six As, on top of an A in Chinese he picked up two years ago.

'I never expected to do so well,' he said. 'When I first came here it was very tough. I went from scoring As in English in primary school to getting Es. It took me a year to get my language ability up to speed.'

The most dramatic improvement was at Island School, where 14 per cent of students gained four or more As, up from just 0.6 per cent in 2007.

Jane Foxcroft, principal of West Island School, said her school's results were also their 'best ever', with 53 per cent of grades being an A, and 88 per cent at C or better.

'This sets the standard for next year moving over to the IB,' she said. 'When you have over half of the grades being an A, then you know you can take the students further.'

In England and Wales, 25.9 per cent of grades were As, up from 25.3 per cent last year, while 73.9 per cent were at C or above, a rise of 1.1 percentage points on last year.

The results were a record for the A-level, marking the 26th year of continuous increases in the number of A grades being awarded, making it increasingly difficult for universities to identify the very best students.

The relative ease of gaining A grades in the British A-levels, compared with Hong Kong exams, meant local students were under intense pressure to perform.

'The British A-level is definitely less challenging than the local one,' said South Island School student Joey Tam Cheuk-yin, 18. 'If you don't get all As, you won't be able to get into the university you want.'

He was relieved his four A grades meant he could study for a double degree in civil engineering and law at the University of Hong Kong.

Students at Sear Rogers International School in Kowloon City also took A-levels, but a spokeswoman was unable to give details on their performance. 'The principal is on holiday,' she said.

A spokesman for California School, a private school in Yau Ma Tei, was unable to confirm how well its students had fared.

Top of the class

Proportion of ESF pupils scoring grade C or above this year was: 85%