By REBECCA WALSH
A private girls' college and a small co-ed school top a mixed bag of secondary schools in the latest university Bursary exam results.
Half the schools in the country's top 10 - based on the percentage of students to gain an A Bursary in 2000 - are co-educational.
The other half comprise four girls' schools and one boys' school.
Six of the schools are based in Auckland and six are private schools.
St Cuthbert's College in Auckland topped the table, 76.1 per cent of its students gaining an A Bursary, the Qualifications Authority figures show.
Springbank School, a small, private, co-educational school in Kerikeri, was second. Two of the three students who sat the exam (66.7 per cent) achieved A Bursaries.
Principal Sophia Warren said the results were outstanding, as the students were still in the sixth form when they sat the exam.
Also in the country's top 10 are Burnside High School, Christchurch (63.3), New Zealand International College, Auckland (63), Senior College of New Zealand, Auckland (61.8), Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland (61.5), Auckland Grammar School (59.7), Bayfield High School, Dunedin (57.6), Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Wellington (57.4) and Epsom Girls' Grammar, Auckland (57.3).
Publication of league tables has been criticised by some, who say it tells only part of the story of a school's achievements.
They point out that it does not take into account socio-economic factors or measure the difference a school has made in a student's achievement.
The secondary teachers union says a school's success should also be based on what it adds to the learning of students whose start in life has been disadvantaged.
The chairwoman of the PPTA Principals Council, Janice Campbell, said the tables did not show a school's sporting or cultural achievements "and these are just as important in producing success."
The table below shows the distribution of 2000 Bursary examination grades at schools in the Herald's circulation area.
To obtain University Entrance, students must achieve three C grades in any three Bursary subjects. To get an A Bursary requires a total of 300 marks and a B Bursary, 250-299 marks.
A number of schools in the top 10 also hit the top rankings based on the number of scholarships awarded.
Scholarships go to the top 3 to 4 per cent of students in each subject.
If a student achieves scholarship level in five subjects, he or she is awarded $2500, or $3000 for six scholarships.
Students at Auckland Grammar School achieved the greatest number of scholarships - 230 - followed by Burnside High School in Christchurch, 148, and St Cuthbert's College, 137.
A delighted Byron Bentley, principal of Macleans College, where 55.2 per cent of students gained an A Bursary and 101 scholarships were awarded, said it was good to see that "mainstream, state, co-educational schools" were so well-placed.