Schools are beacons of excellence in top guide


Two state schools have been held up as beacons of excellence providing pupils with “better preparation for the real world” than their fee paying counterparts.

Bourne Grammar and Whissendine Primary School are described as “the creme de la creme of the British state system” in a guide to the country’s state schools in high society magazine Tatler, .

Its introduction to the guide points out that it costs about £600,000 to put two children through the private system, and asks: ‘Is private really superior? Not always, not any more.’

Jonathan Maddox, headteacher of Bourne Grammar, said the point the magazine made was that there were some “first rate” schools in the state sector that are as good as the best of the fee paying ones. He has been head of the grammar school for the past nine years. The school, which has academy status, was classed “outstanding” in the 2008 Ofsted inspection.

He said: “What makes us outstanding is the special attitude of our students and staff: you will see lots of smiling faces here.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into recruiting the right people. We also put huge emphasis on pastoral care.

“People think that a grammar school is purely interested in academics. We celebrate academic performance, but the results we get are a consequence of how we look after our students and care for them.”

The school has 1,116 pupils. In 2013 62 per cent of all its pupils’ grades at GCSE were A* or A, 73 per cent of maths results were A* or A and 100 per cent of chemistry grades were A* or A.

Whissendine Primary School was described as “a beacon of exceptional practice in all areas of its work” by Ofsted, which classed the school as “outstanding” for three consecutive inspections.

Executive head Rob Gooding, who is also responsible for St Nicholas in Cottesmore and Ketton primary schools said being cited as one of the best in the Tatler guide was “a lovely New Year surprise.”

He added: “Some of the things that makes us special include our dedicated staff and our personalised approach to learning. Our children are encouraged to be creative, collaborate with each other and try new experiences.”

That includes an enrichment programme on Fridays when all pupils are encouraged to explore additional subjects such as dance, archery, journalism and drama.

Mr Gooding, who has been head at Whissendine for nine years, said. “The partnership helps make all three schools much stronger. We would not have been able to achieve this accolade if we were not in a federation.”

The Tatler guide recognises that some state schools have “spanking-new buildings, strong discipline, sporting rigour and academic ambition.”

It cites a range of benefits of state schooling, including: “Your child gets a better preparation for the real world, the one where not everything is handed to them on a sterling-silver platter, where there is a cosmopolitan mix, where you will have to fight to get to the top.

“And best of all, when you do finally get into the Cabinet, everyone will love you because you didn’t go to Eton.”

Naming 20 secondaries and 10 primaries, the guide concludes: “So here they are, the crème de la crème of the British state system.

“Do everything you can to get your children a place at one of these schools – you will not regret it.”