World News - UK's top girls' schools tumble down A-Level exam tables
Some of the country's most prestigious girls' schools have tumbled down the exam tables for this year's revamped A Levels.Cheltenham Ladies' College, which costs £11,870 a term and boasts Tamara Beckwith and Kristin Scott Thomas among its alumni, is among those to have lost its place in the fabled '90% Club', which reflects the percentage of results that are B or higher.The £7,000-a-term Godolphin & Latymer, in Hammersmith, west London, is also among those to miss out.The results, published by the Sunday Times, also reveal a huge gulf in results geographically, with 19 of the top 20 independents and 15 of the highest 20 state schools all in the south-east or London.By contrast, only 13 of the top 500 schools in the country are in the north-east.Of the 15 private schools to drop out of the 90% club, 12 are girl-only - a notable shift from results in previous years.And the number of comprehensives in the top 15 state schools 22 were comprehensives, nearly double the previous year.Professor Alan Smithers of Buckingham University told the Sunday Times that fee-paying schools are struggling to get to grips with the new exams.'A striking feature of the top 250 schools in both the independent and state sectors in recent years has been the dominance of girls-only schools,' he said.'We may be seeing the first signs of a decline in independent schools. They do not seem to be coping as well with the new A-level exams, especially the girls, who tend to cope less well with end-of-course exams than do boys.'State schools are improving, fees are rising, and the top universities are under pressure to favour state-school pupils.'