From entrance papers to GCSEs, A-Levels and beyond, exams are a fact of life for students up and down the country. But how do schools prepare young people for the trials and tribulations of testing and how important are good grades to future success? We spoke to Rachel Rees, head of sixth form at Monmouth School for Girls and James Boiling, head of sixth form at Monmouth School for Boys, to find out…

How did your most recent crop of exam age students fare?
James said: “At Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, our students enjoyed outstanding results in their A level examinations in the summer.  Monmouth School for Boys achieved its best A level results since 2012: 75.9 per cent of pupils were awarded A* to B grades and 28 per cent secured three or more A* to A grades. It was a very similar success story at Monmouth School for Girls, where 75.2 per cent of students were awarded A* to B grades with more than 34 per cent achieving three or more A* to A grades. Forces boarder Emily Strawbridge was among the successful cohort, securing a full rowing scholarship to attend the University of Connecticut in the USA.”

What do these results mean to the school and its teaching staff?
James added:  “The headline statistics at both schools were very strong and something for our students and staff to be very proud of. Our outstanding results re-affirmed our view that all the hard work and dedication of staff and pupils pays off. We want our students at Monmouth to achieve their personal best, whether it’s an A*, A, B or C grade at A level.  With very good Oxbridge offers and around 65 per cent Russell Group entries, our students go on to make their mark in diverse areas of society.”

Beyond grades, how do you measure “success” in the classroom?
Rachel explained: “Our strong pastoral support across both schools provides students with the perfect platform to excel in the Sixth Form with the inspiration and self-belief to feel that anything is possible.  We are particularly pleased that the boys and girls achieve such outstanding academic results while also contributing with great energy and enthusiasm to the many areas of our co-curricular programme.

“We foster a can-do attitude and encourage students to seize every opportunity on offer during their time with us. Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools are renowned for developing talented young men and women with a refreshingly grounded attitude to life and a belief in the importance of community, leadership and of being supportive towards their friends and fellow students.”

How do you put students at ease during the exam season?
Rachel said: “Each student in the Sixth Form has a personal tutor who develops an in-depth knowledge of their interests, strengths and talents. The tutors monitor closely and support each individual’s academic and personal development, as well as co-ordinating their time-management and study programmes. This high level of provision allows our students to keep firmly on top of their studies and ensures they are prepared fully for their trial and A level examinations.”

Find out more about Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools at