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Windermere School rises to top of the league tables
A SWITCH to exams with an international flavour is behind a Lake District private school’s dramatic rise to the top of the league tables, according to its head teacher.
Windermere School is now the second best performing school in Cumbria and fifth best private school in the North West at Key Stage 5 following new Govern-ment statistics.
Head teacher Ian Lavender said the school’s decision to teach sixth formers the Baccalaureate, where pupils take six subjects including a language rather than traditional A-levels, has led to the academic coup.
“It’s good news and of course we are very proud to have this recognition. When I joined the school the IB was in its infancy but it has become much more confident in its delivery but I have also gone out of my way to recruit staff who have a wealth of international experience of teaching IB around the world. Without a doubt staff made a very significant difference.”
Over the past five years the school has leapt from 14th to second place in Cumbria at Key Stage 5 and is now out-performing highly selective schools in Manchester including the city’s High School for Girls and Manchester Grammar School.
The Department for Education ranks schools taking A-levels or the Baccalaureate by working out each pupil’s average point score at Key Stage 5.
Windermere pupils achieved 1037.1 points per pupil. Only Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith came in higher with 1067.7 points per pupil in Cumbria.
Their results have also put them joint 24th nationally in the International Baccal-aureate league table in England.
The school’s former head teacher Allan Graham decided to switch to the IB in 2007 because a quarter of pupils come from mainland Europe and the school is a member of the Round Square association which focuses on international learning.
“It was felt to be a more international qualification and also better preparation for our students who are likely to live and work in an international work place,” said Mr Lavendar.
But he also believes the qualification’s element of community work helps students achieve more academically.
“I like that it values service and community work as an educational experience. The students at our school who become more involved in community work through the IB obtained higher results because there’s a sense of belonging and support that they get from their friends.”