In a league of their own

    Benenden School has taken the decision not to publish its exam results. Here, its headmistress Samantha Price explains why the prestigious establishment has decided not to publicly reveal its pupils’ academic achievements

    Benenden School

    “You won’t see Benenden in most of the league tables, and other schools, too, are increasingly choosing not to submit their results for inclusion.

    We have not taken this decision because we are not proud of our girls’ results, or that we have anything to hide, or that we lack confidence in how well Benenden would perform – we are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements, and of our latest results: 74% A*/A at A Level and 81% A*/A at GCSE.

    There are three main reasons we have taken this decision.

    Firstly, the top schools are increasingly not submitting their results for league tables in the national media, which means that a number of Benenden’s peers do not appear in them.

    Therefore, league tables are increasingly becoming unreliable ways of judging schools against one another.

    Benenden School 2

    Secondly, different league tables apply different criteria for assessing schools – some will exclude certain qualifications or choose different measures by which to rank schools – which again can be very confusing for parents who are trying to make an informed choice about a school.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, we do not believe that league tables should be the barometer by which schools are judged. Benenden achieves excellent academic results, and we are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements.

    However, there is far more to education than just exam grades. The data shows that we add a tremendous amount of value to a girl’s academic potential.

    Benenden School 3

    On average, each one achieves around a grade higher at Benenden than she would otherwise have expected.

    League tables do not take this into account, which is why they are such a poor indicator of a school’s performance.

    Further, league tables do not take into account the impressive higher education destinations of leavers; the wonderful array of leadership opportunities they experience; the exceptional co-curricular experience they receive; how prepared our students are for the workplace and later life; the compassion, confidence and enthusiasm they have for their careers, their friends and their families.

    Schools, and especially a boarding environment such as ours, are about so much more than sheer academic results. We will help girls to achieve the very best they are capable of, but we strongly believe that schools should not be judged purely on exam results – nor indeed should young people.