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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Top head attacks exam coursework
Eton College
Eton was third for GCSE results
The head teacher of a top-performing private school says coursework should be scrapped from GCSEs because it is open to abuse.

The high master of St Paul's school in London, Martin Stephen, complains that coursework can be taken straight from the internet.

His school came top of the private schools' own league table for GCSEs, published on Friday.

Perse School for Girls in Cambridge was second, while Eton was third.

At St Paul's, a boys' school in Barnes, south west London, 165 candidates achieved an average of 81.9 points - an equivalent of at least 10 A* grades.

Dr Martin Stephen said the school's success was due to its broad education with an emphasis on extra curricula activities and a compulsory creative GCSE.

"The enthusiasm and excitement of music, drama and sport creates a spark which spills out into the classroom - this means the boys do everything at 100%," he said.


He attacked the use of coursework in GCSEs: "The internet is a gift to plagiarism. I fully support the move to abolish coursework - it's a government idea that hasn't worked."

The league tables are compiled by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), which represents many independent schools.

Results from 572 schools collected by the body suggest one in four (24.9%) entries from its candidates received A* grades, up from 23.2% last year.

The overall provisional results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland this year were that 5.6% of entries received A*s, up from 5.1% in 2003.

Over half (55.5%) of private school entries studied by the ISC were graded A* or A, up from 54.6% in 2003 compared with the national average of 17.4%, up from 16.7% last year.

And 19 out of 20 entries (94.8%) achieved grades A* to C, up from 94% in 2003, compared with the national average of 59.2%, which increased from 58.1% last summer.

Dick Davison of the ISC, said the council was "absolutely delighted" with the results.

"It's particularly encouraging given that these are not all academic schools," he said.

"These results are achieved by pupils with a wide range of abilities."

"Independent schools by virtue of high quality teaching and low pupil teacher ratios bring out the best in pupils of all abilities," he added.

Top grades rising again for GCSEs
26 Aug 04  |  Education
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02 Jul 04  |  Education
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19 Jun 04  |  Education
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28 Apr 04  |  Education
'Quarter of students cheating'
30 Jun 04  |  Education
Parents 'need advice over coursework'
02 Nov 01  |  Mike Baker

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