Academies are driving up educational standards, campaigners have said, as the latest A-level figures show the gap between pupils gaining the highest grade at state and private schools is at its narrowest yet.
When the A* grade was introduced in 2010 there were 203 academies compared with nearly 4,000 now.
In that time the proportion of privately-educated pupils gaining a top grade has gone down significantly. Private schools have been hit disproportionately by efforts to cap grade inflation.
In 2010 18.2 per cent of pupils achieved the top grade at private schools, compared with a national average of 8.1 per cent. But this year while the national average remained the same, private schools achieved only 17.9 per cent – their lowest ever score. This year the gap has also narrowed when it comes to A grades, with a national average of 25.8 per cent compared with 48.7 per cent for independent pupils. Read more