Healthy competition between local schools is helping to keep them high in the national rankings when it comes to exam results.

Five state secondaries and two private schools in West Kent made it into the coveted top 150 lists released by The Sunday Times, which bases rankings on this year’s A Level and GCSE grades.

Tonbridge Grammar School for girls ranked ninth in the state schools category, having slipped slightly from fifth last year.

Boys school Judd in Tonbridge ranked at 13, Tunbridge Wells boys school Skinners’ came 47, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School came 48 and Tonbridge grammar Weald of Kent came 136.

On the independent side, Tonbridge School finished 42 while Sevenoaks School came eighth – which placed it ahead of Eton College, the former stomping ground of many a politician.

Edward Wesson, headteacher at Skinners’, said: “There is a lot of competition locally, all schools around here have much to offer.

“Exam success matters but it is not the be all and end all. We focus a great deal on holistic and extra-curricular education. “However, we always look to get better still and get more accustomed to new specifications at both GCSE and A Level.”

The results were published in the newspaper on Sunday [November 26]. The ranking was based on 2017 results with A*-B grades for A Level double weighted.

Class sizes Andrew Leale, director of admissions at Tonbridge School, said: “The grades reflect hard work and dedicated. “Most importantly, however, the boys develop an engagement with and an excitement towards their subjects.”

He added: “There are a lot of schools in the local area which also achieve excellent results and they present valuable competition.

“But Tonbridge School is not an exam factory, we place huge importance on extra-curricular activities. “We are always looking to improve further.”

Sevenoaks School took the additional honour of being named Independent Secondary School of the Year by the Sunday Times for the second time.

This acknowledged the ethos and opportunities offered by the school as well as their exam grades.