ISC Year 11 Exam Results 2014

Posted on: 30 Aug 2014
Posted by: Tracy Cook

Typical ISC student achieved 2 A*s and 7 As.

  • Rise in number of entries awarded A* and A grades at GCSE, in contrast to the national picture of a slight fall at the top grade.
  • Significant rise in number of IGCSE entries from pupils at ISC schools. Nearly four in every ten exam entries are for IGCSE rather than GCSE.
  • Typical ISC student achieved 2 A*s and 7 As.

View Exam Results 2014 data

GCSE and IGCSE exam results from 552 independent schools show the proportion of entries awarded grade A* this year has risen to 32.7% from 32.0% last year. This compares with a national average of 6.7%, down from 6.8% in 2013.


At ISC schools the trend continues of increasing numbers of pupils choosing to take the IGCSE rather than the GCSE.

This year 38.7% of Year 11 exam entries were for IGCSEs rather than GCSEs. This year ISC schools reported 152,170 IGCSEs taken by their pupils, up from 129,288 last year.

This represents an 18% increase on last year. The growing uptake of the IGCSE has been a feature for a number of years: in 2010, only 11.1% of Year 11 exam entries were for IGCSEs.

438 schools had pupils taking at least one IGCSE.


Pupils at ISC schools took fewer GCSEs this year: 241,181 down from 274,183 in 2013. All 552 schools had pupils taking at least one GCSE.

Barnaby Lenon, Chairman, Independent Schools Council (ISC), said:

"The independent sector is celebrating another set of fantastic GCSE results. In a year when results nationally dipped slightly at the top end, the proportion of our entries awarded grades A* and A has risen.

“ISC schools are pleased to use their independence and freedom to continue to offer both the IGCSE and the GCSE in the best interests of their pupils. It is also notable that ISC pupils achieved a high proportion of the top grades in hard subjects such as Maths, separate Sciences and Languages. Many pupils will continue with these subjects at A-level and then university.

“These results further underline the important contribution that ISC schools make to UK education."

GCSE and IGCSE results

The results are from 552 ISC schools, representing 393,351 entries from 40,901 candidates. The aggregate data, for both GCSE and IGCSE combined, show that candidates in ISC schools took an average of 9.6 subjects each, and:

32.7% of all exam entries received the A* grade, up from 32.0% last year (national average 6.7%, down from 6.8% in 2013).

60.6% were graded A* or A, up from 60.4% in 2013 (national average 21.3%, unchanged from 2013).

94.4% were graded A* to C, the same proportion as in 2013 (nationally, 68.8% were graded A* to C, compared with 68.1% last year).

90.9% achieved five or more A* to C grades including maths and English (national figures for 2014 are not yet available, but in 2013 the national figure was 58.6%). 77.7% of ISC pupils this year achieved five or more A* to C grades including Maths, English, a Science and a Modern Foreign Language.

In 175 ISC schools (31.7% of the total), every pupil achieved five or more A* to C grades. In a further 157 schools (a further 28.4% of the total) 95% or more of pupils achieved this standard.

For ISC schools as a whole, the figures show that candidates achieved an average total of 481.3 points – approximately equivalent to a nine subject result of 2 A*s and 7 As – and an average subject entry result of 50.0 points, which is closer to an A than a B.

Case Studies

Success in International GCSEs at Cheltenham College

At Cheltenham College, pupils study the International GCSE (IGCSE) in Maths, English Language and Literature, Science, History, Geography and Modern Languages, alongside GCSEs in other subjects. The school believes these are academically more rigorous than their GCSE counterparts and that they provide the best preparation for A-Level.

Deputy Head (Academic), Mr Duncan Byrne commented:

“We believe that the specifications for IGCSE are more academically rigorous. IGCSE, particularly in Mathematics and the Sciences, contains content which is more challenging, and which prepares students better for further study.

“IGCSEs do not feature either controlled assessment or modules, which we considered a real weakness of GCSE, with too much time spent testing and not enough time spent teaching and learning. Particularly in Maths, Sciences and Modern Languages, there is a linear progression of skills, and the IGCSE recognise this much better.”

Dr Alex Peterken, Headmaster of Cheltenham College commented:

"With pupils predominantly sitting the International GCSE, requiring pupils to study, understand and question subjects more deeply, I feel tremendously proud of their achievement.

“It's not only those pupils with the highest number of A* grades who are to be commended. Cheltenham College is tremendously proud of the dozens of students who have achieved results of which they would never have believed themselves capable a few years ago. This is testament both to their hard work and to the skill and dedication of their teachers.”

This year, the co-educational Cheltenham College is celebrating their best ever GCSE year, with over a third of results gaining top A* grades.

Six pupils achieved ten or more A* grades – Jana Bourhill, Anne-Marie Bowring, Edward Bryan, Annabella Köhler, Emily Morton and Katie Stanton and overall, 65% of all papers were graded A* or A and 85% at A*- B.

Jana Bourhill, commented on achieving 12 As:*

"I am so pleased and relieved with my results. I feel that all the hard work has paid off and really helps me with my plan to become a doctor. The staff were so supportive and I want to thank them for all their help."

For further information, contact: Andrew Hussey, Marketing Manager, Cheltenham College T: 01242 265683. E:

Stellar results for languages at Oxford High School – including As in Mandarin and Russian.*

At Oxford High School, all 28 girls who took Mandarin this year achieved A*.

All 17 girls taking Russian achieved A* or A grades.

At GCSE this year, 104 girls took 224 foreign language exams, with 80% results A* and 93% A*/A.

Oxford High School (OHS) works hard to encourage the study of modern and ancient foreign languages, offering French, Mandarin, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian, at different stages, as well as Ancient Greek and Latin:

All the girls who took Mandarin also took another GCSE language, either modern or ancient, including French, Spanish, German, Russian, Greek or Latin. This bucks the national trend in the overall decline in GCSE entries in modern foreign languages.

The school is able to offer such a breadth of languages options because it creates the timetables around the girls' choices. They are therefore able to study a tremendous variety of combinations both at GCSE and A-level. It is very rare indeed for a girl not to take at least one language at GCSE and many take two or even three.

An interest in modern and ancient foreign languages is also promoted from a very young age in the OHS Junior School, including specialist French teaching and clubs for Mandarin and Latin. Older girls often run the clubs for the younger pupils, so the youngest pupils have excellent role models to create an interest in languages and cultures.

Judith Carlisle, Head, said:

“Mandarin is compulsory in Year 7 at Oxford High School GDST and has been for eight years. This year’s results really are exceptional as it’s the first time 100% of our 28 Mandarin students have achieved A* grades. This is also the first year we’ve had girls going to study Mandarin at university, one to SOAS, one to Manchester.

"Learning foreign languages not only uses the brain in unique ways, it also offers a window into other cultures.

“When I ask Year 7 girls "What is your favourite subject?" they often say "Mandarin" and when I ask why, they tell me it is because it is new, hard and beautiful to write. I think that sums up the attitude of the girls at OHS to new learning and Mandarin remains a great love for many of them."

Distinction in Further Maths and Science GCSEs at Withington Girls’ School.

Withington Girls’ School are celebrating an exceptional set of GCSE examination results in STEM subjects.

One pupil, Deeya Kotecha, from Timperley, achieved 100% in Further Mathematics GCSE, one of only 8 students in the entire country to do so.

Also in Further Mathematics, a third of the 45 entries were awarded the high accolade of an A* grade “with Distinction”. 86% of entries in Mathematics and 82% of entries in Further Mathematics were awarded A* grades.

Over half the year took the three separate Science IGCSEs, with the remainder taking the double award in Science. Across all three Science subjects, A* was the average grade achieved, including Biology (82% of entries), Chemistry (79%) and Physics (72%).

These strong results come at a time when nationally in single science subjects there has been a fall in A*grades and a fall of 16.9% in the number of entries.

Headmistress Mrs Sue Marks said:

“It is particularly pleasing to note the girls’ outstanding success in STEM subjects, which reflect the importance they have always been accorded at Withington since its foundation in 1890.

“Whether or not the girls choose to continue with one or more STEM subjects at A-level, they all have the benefit of an excellent foundation in maths and the sciences, which is crucial to their future employment prospects.”

The cohort of 77 Year 11 pupils at the Manchester-based school passed all papers taken, with 67% of all entries achieving the highest grade of A. Over 92% of all entries were awarded grades A or A.

45 girls earned 7 or more A* grades and twelve girls swept the board with straight A* grades in all their subjects.


Press queries

For more information, please contact: Tracy Cook, Head of Press, Independent Schools Council T: 020 7766 7062 (office), 07825 806017 (out of hours) E:

Notes to editors:

Year 11 exam results

Results from ISC schools include IGCSE as well as GCSE. ISC continues to believe that there are no grounds for the separation of performance of the IGCSE from the GCSE.

Points totals are included for each school, based on the tariff A*=58, A=52, B=46, C=40, D=34, E=28, F=22, G=16, U=0.

View Exam Results 2014 data

Value-added contribution to GDP

The recent Oxford Economics report, The Impact of independent schools on the British economy, highlights the role independent schools play in supporting strategically important and vulnerable subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics, modern foreign languages and quantitative social sciences.

These subjects are vital to the UK’s competitiveness and its international relations but their supply is either weak or falling, jeopardising the UK’s growth prospects.

“It has long been the case that the independent schools sector delivers proportionately more students with better STEM related A-levels than the state sector. Without these well qualified applicants many university STEM courses would face serious recruitment difficulties.”

Professor Sir Michael Sterling, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham and former Chairman of the Russell Group

Independent Schools Council

The Independent Schools Council (ISC) brings together eight associations of independent schools, their Heads, bursars and governors. These collectively represent over 1,200 independent schools in the UK and overseas, educating more than half a million children each year.