Rugby School withdraws from League Tables

Rugby School has withdrawn from the League Tables from 13 August 2018.

Peter Green, Head Master, writes:

"As you may be aware, I am a sceptic when it comes to league tables. I appreciate that for many parents, scanning the league tables is part of the process by which they choose a school for their children, but in my view, they are only a partial snapshot of academic performance, which is often misleading and may leave out more than it reveals about modern all-round education.

I am sceptical about them for a number of reasons: they do not report the full range of exams that schools offer; they do not reflect the range of a school’s wider offering; A levels and GCSEs continue to be subject to the vagaries of political fortune and grade inflation; and, increasingly, the number of successful appeals against exam marks means that the statistics released immediately after the results are later significantly altered - usually in favour of the student and the school.

They fail to say which schools prevent their borderline students taking particular subjects in case their own performance is adversely affected. They do not tell us which schools include ’easier’ subjects in the curriculum in order to boost results. They don’t even acknowledge the size of the school.

Rugby School has, therefore, decided to withdraw from the league tables system with immediate effect. We are not the first to do so. As you will know, many independent schools took the same decision several years ago, believing – as we do -  that a school’s position in the league tables does not give a true picture of its success. Our public exam grades will, of course, be posted on the school’s website but only after the conclusion of the appeals process against questionable marking.     

We have taken this decision from a position of academic strength, with excellent exam results, year on year, at A level, the Cambridge pre-U, GCSE and Edexcel’s iGCSE.  Rugby School is an unashamedly academic school and we believe that mental responsiveness and intellectual agility are important skills which are well tested in exams. But our aims for the education of the children in our care focus on a broader definition of academic success than the acquisition of subject knowledge and the passing of exams.

League tables provide no indication of the standard of music, drama and sport that is taught, or any of the intellectual, artistic and community-based activities that contribute to the development of the whole person to which Rugby is committed. League tables say nothing about the ethos of a school; its social mix; its location or place in the community; the commitment, generosity and aspirations of its staff; its range of co-curricular offerings. In all of these categories, I am proud of Rugby School and its insistence on continuing to develop these diverse aspects to the highest possible level.  I am delighted to say that next year we have more students enrolled than ever before."

Subsequent news coverage of Rugby leaving the League Tables can be found in the Times (here), the 'i' (here) and the Huffington Post (here)


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