School league tables fuel anxiety in students, leading headmistress says, as she calls for a mass boycott


School league tables fuel anxiety in students, a leading headmistress has said as she calls for a mass boycott.

Sarah Matthews, head of Truro High School for Girls, said that teachers have a responsibility to lead by example and end the “culture of comparison” which is damaging to children’s mental health.

The school, which has just 330 pupils, admits girls aged four to 18 and charges £28,959-a-year for boarders.

It is one of the highest performing in Cornwall and last year it came top of the league table for small independent schools in England, with 59 per cent of pupils achieving an A* or A in their A-levels.

But Mrs Matthews said that reaching the top of the small English schools league “very much brought the purpose of the league tables into perspective for us”.

She announced that this year she will not be submitting students’ grades to league tables, nor will they be publicised on the school’s website, social media accounts or in any other promotional material.    

“There is a need, and a responsibility, for teachers to be role models to the girls and to say that life isn’t about what may be unrealistic comparisons,” she said.


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