Best in England: Chemistry National Award

THE Good Schools Guide has named Withington 'Best in England' for outstanding results in tough Chemistry exams.

The School is accorded the accolade in the just-published Good Schools Guide A-level Awards for 2007. The aim is to highlight 'excellent teaching in individual subjects'.

Three Withington pupils – Jessica Brush, Abigail Perrin and Zoë Clayton-Smith – achieved distinctions in the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) for Chemistry. Now at Cambridge, Jessica is studying chemical engineering and Abigail natural sciences. Zoë is reading medicine at Leeds University.

Withington underlined its excellence in Chemistry by repeating the feat in this year's AEA exam.

All three students who entered – Maral Rouhani, Eleanor Morris and Neda Taghinejadi – scored distinctions. Maral is off to Christ's Cambridge, Eleanor to Magdalene, Oxford and Neda is going to University College, London.

All girls were taught by the Director of Studies and then Head of Chemistry, Mrs Jillyan Farrell.

Across all subjects, Withington girls gained ten AEA Distinctions and five Merits in 2008.

The 'beyond A-level' Advanced Extension Awards were introduced in 2002 to replace the former 'Special Papers' to provide high flyers with the opportunity to tackle more searching questions. But they are being discontinued by examination boards after 2009 in favour of the proposed new A* grade at A-level.

Mrs Farrell said: "I think the move is regrettable. The AEA examination provided our high achievers with the opportunity to really show their ability. The A* at A-level is being brought in because universities are now inundated with A-grade applicants. But the new qualification won't really replace the AEA because it will only measure high performance at A-level rather than enable students to show extra ability in a harder exam."