School censured over false ‘top’ claim

A school which promoted itself as the “top independent mixed” school in Wales has been rapped after making false exam results claims.

New College in Cardiff was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority after falsely claiming, in a campaign, that it had achieved a 100% GCSE pass rate.

Figures from the National Assembly of Wales showed the number was actually 76% and the school was, in fact, ranked 18th in Wales.

The Times newspaper published the college’s claim in a league of independent schools in 1999 and New College used the table in a regional press campaign promoting academic excellence at the institution.

But the Cardiff Academy, a rival independent college, complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, and the body upheld the complaint.

The ASA’s adjudication states: “We were concerned that the advertisers had not substantiated their claim to be Wales top independent mixed school.

The Times told the authority that results were no longer submitted to them by the Welsh Independent Schools Information Service.

Instead, the newspaper accepted the results faxed by New College without independent verification.

The National Assembly for Wales, which publishes the official GCSE results, told ASA that New College was instead ranked 18th out of 23 independent schools in Wales.

Representatives claimed that it had been ranked 172nd overall, which it said was the highest position of any independent mixed school in Wales.

It added that the newspaper had drawn up the table without reference to the college.

In the most recent GCSE results, announced on Thursday, New College announced that 94% had passed grades A* -C compared with the national average of 56.6%. In other grades 29.1% got A*s (national 4.6%); 56% got A*-As (nationally 15.8%) and 82.8% got A*-B grade (nationally 32.8%).