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To excel is, of course, to be the best, or among the best. It is possible to excel in something evil, as Henry V says to one of the traitors:

And whatsoever cunning fiend it was

That wrought upon thee so preposterously

Hath got the voice in hell for excellence … (Act 2, Scene 2)

Schools aspire to be excellent, or, in the current Ofsted parlance, ‘outstanding’. It helps when results in tests or examinations are well above the national average, but a school can still be outstanding with lower results, if it can be shown that pupils have made exceptional progress from the time they entered the school. This is usually demonstrated by ‘CVA’ (contextual value added). A school would have to be in at least the ...

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