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Pembrokeshire school named best in Wales

THE TOP performing schools in Wales are revealed in Parent Power, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2023, on December 9, 2022.

A Pembrokeshire school has come out on top in the list of state schools in Wales.

Ysgol Bro Preseli, near the Preseli Mountains, has been named The Sunday Times Secondary School of the Year.  

The 30th edition of Parent Power identifies the highest-achieving schools in the UK. It is the definitive guide to secondary schools using the first post-pandemic set of results for state and independent schools since Covid-19 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

More than 1,600 schools can be searched by name, local authority, town and postcode, allowing families to find the best school in their area.

Parent Power is widely acknowledged as the most authoritative survey of the country’s best schools. The rankings in the secondary school league tables are determined by the percentage of examination entries gaining A*-B at A-level (which is given double weighting) and the percentage of entries returning A* and A grades, and those graded 9, 8 and 7, at GCSE and iGCSE. 

Helen Davies, editor of The Sunday Times Parent Power guide, says: “These have been a challenging few year for teachers, pupils and their parents, and the success of many in our league table is testament to the stamina and support shown by all concerned. 

“It is also clear that more attention is being placed on wellbeing and mental health – from meditation rooms to counselling support, even therapy dogs – and schools are being proactive to bring about positive changes

“League tables are not the only criteria a parent can use when choosing a school, but they are a good starting point. We want to celebrate excellence. We want to champion schools that are doing wonderful work. We want our children to be well-nurtured and well-taught. In choosing a school parent are making one of the biggest decisions in their family life, and Parent Power and The Sunday Times are here to help.”

Overcoming rural challenges to climb to the top of our regional ranking, the school has high expectations of pupils and is an anchor in the local community. The school hosts a Welsh for Adults Service, the Gromlech Theatre, a public library, a swimming pool, a leisure centre, an all-weather pitch, a nursery and a cylch meithrin, or playgroup.

Its motto – “Gwreiddiau a Gorwelion”, or Roots and Horizons – neatly sums up the atmosphere and ambition of the Pembrokeshire comprehensive.

“We want to ensure that all pupils are prepared for life from the time they nurture their academic and personal roots to the time they leave school and head for their own personal horizons,” says Rhonwen Morris, the head teacher. “We expect the highest possible standards from our pupils and we will do our utmost to give them every opportunity to succeed.”

The Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year in Wales is Cardiff Sixth Form College, one of a number of urban independents to triumph in the rankings. 

The city of Cardiff remains an academic powerhouse, with three schools in the top 100. Cardiff Sixth Form College, a coeducational boarding school, is joint 16th in the national rankings.

Gareth Collier, the principal, says: “Cardiff Sixth Form College is for the ambitious student whose aspirations are broad and whose academic dreams are big. It is for students who wish to win a place at the best universities to study courses that will provide fulfilment and challenge. It is not for everyone, but it is the perfect place for many.”

Sixth formers this year have gone on to Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, London School of Economics and University College London as well as top universities in the US, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe.