The percentage of A levels in state schools that are A* or A rose last year from 22.2% to 22.7%. This year it has risen again, to 23.4%. This appears not to have been due to 'grade inflation' as the proportion in private schools stayed the same at 50.8%.
The figures are given in documents for 2010
on the Joint Council for Qualifications web site. The figures above are the result of combining the different types of school in the state sector. (The categories Comprehensives or Selective schools are difficult to compare between 2010 and 2011 as many of the 'outstanding' schools from those sectors have transferred to the new category of 'academies').
The figure in private schools is still higher, as can be expected from the background of those attending such schools, but the gap is steadily - year by year - closing. It is clear that the performance of state schools is consistently improving.
This is not the message we hear from media coverage and is surely an indication of the benefit of investment in education over the last few years. As we send out and tweet these statistics I look forward to seeing coverage of the closing gap in newspaper in the next few days and discussion of what has gone right in our schools.
(Statistical note: There is a small element of approximation in calculating the above figures as absolute numbers have only been given by JCQ for 2011. I have assumed the proportions between different types of state schools nwere the same in 2009and 2010.)