b'STATE BOARDING SCHOOLSMust be lots of lab talk at homehis wifein the government league tables. No wonder it has Michelle is a chemistry teacher. They have threesomething of a reputation as a hothouse, though children, two who went through the sixth formparents roll their eyes at the suggestion. Its notBecause boarding is sixth form only, in recent years. Describes himself as an enthusi- an exam factorythey go well beyond the cur- boarders are afforded plenty of astic sportsman if not a very accomplished one,riculum with competitions, debating, clubs and with football and racket sports topping the bill.societies and they really encourage non-academicindependence and have guidelines Music also a big part of his life. pursuits, said one. In any case, you couldnt holdrather than rulesthis lot back if you tried, with self-study very pop-Entrance: Highly competitive September 11+ularone girl recently chose to do nine A levels exam, made up of English (including verbal rea- and I still saw her with a normal literature book soning) and maths papers. Around 450 apply,in her hand, says head. But nine? If the school with 128 places available and awarded in rankdoesnt teach an A level a student desperately order, of which 12 are set as priority places forwants to do, we try to provide one lecture a week pupil premium. No catchment, so pupils dontif the student agrees to self-teach the restthe have to live in Essex (many dont). skys the limit, explains head, citing government Co-ed sixth formour agshipeven moreand politics and Mandarin as recent examples.popular, with around 500 applying for the 80-oddClass sizes 32 in year 7 and 8, 25 in years external places (around a third are girls). These9-11 and 20 in years 12 and 13. Theres not much applicants, along with pupils already at thecall for setting with this narrow range of ability, school, need 38 points in their top ve GCSEsthough theres some in French and maths from and grade 7s in the subjects to be studied. Butyear 9 purely for the paceSet 4 pupils will still because places are awarded in rank order, in real- be expected to achieve 9-8 at GCSE. Language ity theyll need a lot of 9-8s, says the head. provision stands outFrench and Latin in year 7, Boarding in sixth form onlycandidateswith a choice of German or Greek added in year 8. must meet the academic requirements rst andGood take-up for languages at GCSE (when French foremost, then its down to boarding need (toois compulsory) and, bucking the national trend, far to travel or eg mental health) and for over- at A level (when French is common, with smaller seas boarders a British passport or relevant visa.numbers doing Spanish or Greek). Most pupils, About half the boarders come from the UK, theas youd expect, take triple science but theres rest from abroad, with 50 per cent of those fromusually one class doing the double awardnot Hong Kong and others from all over including abecause theyre weaker but because they want to growing number of expats from Dubai. do triple languages or creative choices like art and music, says head. Majority takes 10 or 11 GCSEs, Exit: Over 90 per cent stay on for sixth formThethough someespecially those doing Spanish, ve or so boys who leave usually do so becauseextra maths or astronomydo up to 13.we arent offering the courses they want, says head. Vast majority to university, three-quarters to Russell Group. The Telegraph ranks CRGS as the top performing grammar in the country forAcademic standards are right at the Oxbridge21 went in 2021. Imperial and Bathtop end for the state sector, with also feature regularly. Most popular courses include medicine (11 in 2021), economics, maths,the school having long enjoyed the sciences, engineering and classics. Small numbersnumber one spot in the government overseasincluding to Berkeley and Columbia in 2021. School supports students heading off toleague tablesmusic conservatories and to do degree apprentice-shipsmost recently to Dyson, which is a reallyAt A level, its four for most though some impressive apprenticeship so Im hoping we getdo moreoften AS politics off the back of the more students on to this, says head. weekly politics lectures to which all sixth formers are invited (and usually attend, in their droves). Latest results: In 2021, 87 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 83Further maths also attracts big numbers. No weak per cent A*/A at A level (96 per cent A*-B). In 2019spots, but best results in humanities, maths, (the last year when exams took place), 83 per centsciences, DT and economics. Compulsory enrich-9-7 at GCSE; 69 per cent A*/A at A level (91 perment for all sixth formers, with EPQ taken by a cent A*-B). quarter and Young Enterprise also popular. We were privy to one of a series of childrens books Teaching and learning: Academic standards arethat students had created to celebrate the differ-right at the top end for the state sector, with theent continents, having been responsible for the school having long enjoyed the number one spotconcept, words, design and publishingit would 1302'