WORDS and WAFFLE from DoE

** UK education sixth best in world **
An international education league table puts the UK among a leading group of countries headed by Finland and South Korea.
< http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/education-20498356 >
The Department for Education must have a filing cabinet somewhere labelled ‘staple responses’.
“We are driving up standards right across the board by bringing the best graduates into teaching, developing a world-class curriculum, and restoring order to our classrooms.” Are they?; there are many, many people who would strongly disagree.

“We are driving forward the academies and free schools programmes with more than half of secondary schools now enjoying academy status.” So academy status is a good thing? Free schools are an excellent idea? There are many Juries and lots of them are still out.

“We have introduced the EBacc so more pupils are encouraged to study the core academic subjects that universities and employers demand and we will be introducing a new, far more rigorous examination system.” Will be introducing…? Do we want an EBacc system? All of this is still being vigorously debated; once again a D of E spokesperson comes up with what they do best. Words and waffle.

Global League tables are a useful indicator but we should be very careful about comparing systems from societies that are culturally disparate. Is it really possible to meaningfully compare the education system in Hong Kong with the UK?

The frustrating thing is that the answer should not be difficult. Hard compulsory exams at 16 containing information that school leavers might actually be glad they learned if they never open another book. Tandem vocational qualifications for those less inclined towards academics. A Levels should be kept but rolled back to when they were challenging. Hard exams for 18 year olds will give us a clear picture of abilities. Universities and employers will be able to trust the grades and know the calibre of candidate they are getting without having to re-check. Let’s get away from this ridiculous situation where the sole driver seems to be everybody passing and going to University. Pretending everybody is an academic could lead to a future with the potential to have generations of ill-educated, debt ridden ex-students.

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