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Dartford Grammar School outperforms exclusive private schools

By Nick Lillitos

A state school in Dartford is beating some of the country’s top private schools when it comes to offers of placements at the best universities.

It is outstripping some of Britain’s most expensive ones for the rich and famous with more offers of placements from Cambridge and Oxford.

Dartford Grammar School for Boys (DGS), West Hill, often described as one of the town’s ‘pearls,’ is a strong contender for its pupils entering Britain’s two top universities.

And they are leaving some private schools behind.

Sixth formers there have received more offers of placings from Oxford and Cambridge than some of the top-fee paying private schools
Sixth formers there have received more offers of placings from Oxford and Cambridge than some of the top-fee paying private schools

Average boarding fees and ancillary costs do not give wealthy parents much change from £35,000 a year at fee-paying schools but at DGS, nine students have received offers. That compares with just one from a private school whose alumni includes generations of Royals.

“It will require success at a very high level in the International Baccalaureate diploma examinations this May,” said a school spokesman.

A Sunday Times article helps put Dartford Grammar’s achievement of nine offers into some perspective.

It said Scotland’s Gordonstoun got one offer; Bedales in Hampshire received three; Sherbourne, Dorset, five; and Haileybury, Herts, where post-war Prime Minister Clement Attlee attended, got four offers.

“These schools are all high-achieving fee-paying independent or public schools against which a state grammar like DGS would not normally compare itself,” said spokesman for the Dartford school.

“We are rightly proud of these students and wish those in Year 13 the very best of good fortune in their upcoming exams.”

They roundly beat Gordonstoun which operates on a 200-acre wooded campus, not far from Inverness and Aberdeen.

Its alumni include the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and his brothers Andrew, the Duke of York; and Edward, the Earl of Wessex.

Kevin Lawrence has met Prince Charles twice
Kevin Lawrence has met Prince Charles twice

On a non-blue blood scale, Dartford Grammar has its own local heroes –rock star Mick Jagger who attended there before studying at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Dartford’s MP Gareth Johnson (Con), also an ex-DGS pupil, said: “It’s good to see my old school doing well.

“We are very lucky to have so many high quality educational establishments.”

Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) leader of the town council, said: “This is very pleasing – we have a range of great schools here, whether vocational or academic, providing great opportunities for young people.”

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