The return of the O-level: at last, the Tories are doing what Tories are supposed to do (Telegraph blog)
It’s a bit early, but: Hosanna in excelsis! The Tories finally appear to be doing what we elected them to do. Last month, a sigh of relief passed through the country when we heard that health and safety red tape had being cut in the education sector by 95 per cent. A 150-page diktat from central government, introduced by Labour, had been boiled down to just eight pages; a 200-page set of guidelines on “reducing bureaucracy” had been slashed completely.
And now we have the return of the O-level. It has been announced that the all-must-win-prizes culture, which has gradually sapped all rigour and ambition from our education system, will be replaced. Modular assessments will be binned in favour of old-fashioned three-hour examinations. Just one in 10 candidates will now be awarded top marks, as opposed to the three in 10 who received an A* or A at GCSE. No longer will children be allowed to improve their grades by re-sitting individual modules, but will have to re-take the entire exam. All together: phew.
To the majority of the population, the solution has been obvious for ages. An ICM poll in 2010 established that 76 per cent of us are in favour of the expansion of grammar schools, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody not in favour of proper apprenticeships. Only the most radical on the Left argue that universities should be forced to lower the bar for poorer students; most of us understand that if we focus on providing a decent education at state schools – though the expansion of the excellent academies for instance – university demographics will look after themselves. Rocket science it is not. Continue reading on the Telegraph website