You won’t see Benenden in the league tables, and we thought it would be helpful to explain why we have chosen not to submit our results for inclusion.
We have not taken this decision because we are not proud of girls’ results, or that we have anything to hide, or that we lack confidence in how well Benenden would perform – we are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements and of our latest results.
There are three main reasons we have taken this decision.
Firstly, the top HMC schools are increasingly not submitting their results for league tables, which means that a number of Benenden’s peers do not appear in them. Therefore, league tables are increasingly becoming unreliable ways of judging schools against one another.
Secondly, different league tables apply different criteria for assessing schools – some will exclude certain qualifications or choose different measures by which to rank schools – which again can be very confusing for parents who are trying to make an informed choice about a school.
Thirdly, and most importantly, we do not believe that league tables should be the barometer by which schools are judged. Benenden achieves excellent academic results, and we are incredibly proud of our students’ academic achievements. However, there is far more to a Benenden education than just exam grades. The data shows that we add a tremendous amount of value to a girl’s academic potential (on average each girl achieves around one grade higher at Benenden than she would otherwise have expected). League tables do not take this into account, which is why they are such a poor indicator of a school’s performance.
Further, league tables do not take into account the impressive higher education destinations of leavers; the wonderful array of leadership opportunities they experience here; the exceptional co-curricular experience they receive; how prepared Benenden girls are for the workplace and later life; the compassion, confidence and enthusiasm they have for life, for their careers, their friends and their families.
Independent schools, and especially a boarding environment such as ours, are about so much more than sheer academic results. We will help girls to achieve the very best they are capable of, but we strongly believe that schools should not be judged purely on exam results – nor indeed should young people. It is important not to confuse an education with a syllabus.