A celebratory message from Eastbourne College!


Dear Parents / Guardians

On Thursday those who took A levels last term received their results. Relative to individuals’ underlying ability and absolutely, those results are outstanding. This is the second time in three years that Eastbournians have scored record A level results and the third time in succession that the percentage of grades from A* to B has been over 80%.

This year:

·         86.4% of all grades scored were A*, A or B (we know this figure will go up with remarks that are currently underway)

·         well over 50% of all grades were A* or A

·         a record 21% were the top grade of A*

·         100% pass rate

·         Very high proportion of pupils into their first choice or insurance universities


As I said on Speech Day, the College is not a boastful place: we often hide our light under a bushel when others are shouting from the rooftops. We continue to believe that while A level grades are very important (especially so when our children are 18–23), the kind of people our children become is of much more enduring worth to them. There will be plenty with qualifications galore who will wave their certificates in employers’ faces demanding a job who do not have the qualities that you and we work so hard to develop in your children. And I do believe that those who are emotionally mature, civilised and considerate will fare better and offer more to future employers than  those for whom the pursuit of grades is all.

In my first year at the College, ahead of many schools who have since followed, Eastbourne withdrew from the league tables. We did so for two reasons. Firstly, that the most significant determining factor in a school’s position is the underlying ability of its intake. Secondly, and ironically, while the overall figure for another year may be lower than this year’s, when we sit down and consider how each individual within that year group has fared against his or her underlying ability we may be happier with the result.

Eastbourne College remains avowedly only slightly selective, operating a 50% pass mark at Common Entrance and a very moderate hurdle for entry into the sixth form of 4 Bs and 2 Cs. Nevertheless, we keep a weather eye out for how the College’s results compare with competitor schools and report back to College Council (the College’s governing body) on what we find.


This year, with 86.4% of all A level grades being A*, A or B, Eastbourne would have been fifty-eighth in The Times’ A level league table (although, of course, there are lots of very good schools which have also withdrawn from the league tables and some of these would be higher than the College).

Only one of the much more selective Kent grammar schools has posted a higher figure and the College’s figure sits right up there with some much more selective independent schools that have Common Entrance pass marks of 60 or 65%. There are many schools with the same and higher  Common Entrance pass marks as the College which have a considerably lower percentage of grades A*–B (low 70s and below)at A level. We think this is worth remarking on and hope you agree.

We also know that although the last three years have seen boys and girls at the College post greater than 80% A*–B at A level and twice break Eastbournians’ record for achievement at A level, there will be years when the outcome will be less strong. Year groups, like individuals, vary. This year it is a real pleasure to celebrate how well last year’s Upper Sixth have done individually and collectively and to recognize the huge and protracted effort put in by all  those who have taught, supported and challenged them academically and in so many other ways

As ever, your feedback is always welcome.

Best wishes

Simon Davies


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