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As in 2022, the messaging in the press surrounding results in public examinations this year prior to their release was pessimistic and quite alarming, which was unhelpful to those pupils waiting nervously to hear how they had done. Predictions that universities would be rejecting applicants who had missed their offers, even narrowly, and that competition in clearing was going to be fierce only served to heighten the anxiety in the days leading up to results day.  In light of this, we were delighted with the achievements of our Upper Sixth pupils, both in terms of their examination results and of their success in moving on to the next step of their careers, with the vast majority of them gaining a place at their chosen university.

A Downside education is centred around the child, not around results in public examinations, but we realise that these are, of course, of huge importance. As a school, we are less interested in how many pupils achieve the top grades than in how many pupils fulfil their potential in their examinations and also outside the classroom, where many of the skills that will serve our pupils in later life are acquired.


Our Upper Sixth results were impressive, with 66% attaining A*- B, representing an upwards trajectory from both 2019 (the last set of public examinations pre-pandemic) and 2022. Given that grading had returned to 2019 levels in England this year, the achievements of the Upper Sixth are particularly pleasing. The number of pupils gaining an A* or A also exceeded the figures in 2019, and matched the 2022 cohort, where grade boundaries were mitigated in light of the COVID pandemic.

Downside pupils took up their places this academic year at leading universities including Bath, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, King’s College London, Oxford, UCL and Warwick. The range of subjects they are studying reflects the broad range of disciplines for which a Downside education equips our pupils, and includes Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Linguistics, Modern Languages, Architecture, Real Estate, Particle Physics, Law, Politics, Engineering and Sports. 100% of pupils who completed the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) achieved A*- B grades, with 94% being one of the top two grades, which is a huge testament to the independent learning and research skills that Downside pupils embrace and hone.


Downside pupils performed admirably in the GCSE examinations, with the grade boundaries now in line with the pre-covid 2019 results and set against a back-drop of a national drop in top grades. Our pupils can be proud of their achievements, and it was particularly pleasing that one in four grades awarded was a grade 8 or 9. Many pupils gained exceptional results, with one pupil gaining11 grade 9s, but just as importantly, the majority of pupils achieved or exceeded their target grades.

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