The GCSE and A Level performance tables for 2017, published recently by the Department of Education, showed that Ipswich High School is the top performing school in Suffolk for facilitating A Level subjects. ‘41.4% of students achieved AAB or higher in at least two facilitating subjects’, widely seen as a benchmark for selective universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

Facilitating subjects include A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths, Geography, History, English Literature along with Modern and Classical Languages. Russell Group Universities (a group of 24 leading UK universities) in their “informed choices” brochure recommend A Level students opt for facilitating subjects at A Level.

“If you take three facilitating subjects, you’ll have the largest number of degree courses to choose from further down the line – all the courses which require one or more of your subjects as well as those which have no specific subject requirements. Taking two facilitating subjects will also keep a wide range of degree courses and career options open to you”. Cambridge University colleges, for example Trinity College state on their application pages that “they would ordinarily expect applicants to have taken at least two facilitating subjects to A-level”. Mr Hastings, Director of Sixth Form, commented, “our A Level options enable students to have a breadth of study which meets their individual subject interests, and it is also clear we are meeting the needs of top universities and their course requirements”.

The performance tables published by the Department of Education do not include results of Maths and English IGCSE exams sat by our pupils during the summer of 2017, which are double-weighted in the Attainment 8 comparison. A far more effective measure which enables Ipswich High School to be compared to other schools in Suffolk are the “raw” GCSE results. In Summer 2017, Ipswich High School achieved its best A*-A and equivalent results in seven years, with 70% of grades being A*/A, making the school the top in Suffolk for GCSE results. A total of 15% of students also gained seven or more A*s and equivalent in all subjects, another measure used by top universities to select candidates, including Oxford and Cambridge. Last summer’s GCSE exam results also showed that 100% of pupils gained A* grades in Chinese (Mandarin) and Latin.

By Mrs Nicola Griffiths, Deputy Head