Britain’s Potemkin Education system continues to fail

Pass mark for maths 15%

BBC humour about as thin as these facades

All shall run and all shall win prizes, and even those who don’t run shall receive prizes.

That’s how it is in the UK’s state education system. You think I’m just a nasty elitist being sarcastic? Well, don’t listen to me. Listen to Sally Collier, chief regulator of examinations at OFQUAL:

“All our kids are brilliant.”

That is a remark of outstanding idiocy even in the hyperbolic world of state education bureaucracy. Presumably, OFQUAL exists to promote and maintain standards in schools’ examinations, and wherever standards are in operation some candidates will inevitably do better than others. Any institution which does not understand this self-evident truth doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “quality” – even when it calls itself OFQUAL.

The exam results themselves demonstrate that not all pupils – I’d rather call them “pupils” than Miss Collier’s faux-oikish “kids” – are brilliant. To tell those – the majority, actually – who are not brilliant that they are is a lie and a disastrous disservice to the pupils themselves. The Telegraph revealed the cynical teachers’ union serving truth yesterday (the 25th August) that the pass rate was 20% for maths, with some examination boards setting it as low as 15%.

Well, it’s August when the national hysteria season comes round again: a time when our secondary school children are awarded improbably high grades for their performance in examinations which were not worth anyone’s sitting in the first place.

I will justify my statement by presenting a summary of the performance of the English education system compared with the rest of the world.

According to TIMSS the international monitor of educational standards throughout the world, in mathematics England ranks 10th – behind Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan, Northern Ireland, Russia, Norway and Ireland.

In science we are 15th – behind such as Finland, Slovenia and Kazakhstan.

In literacy we have slipped to 23rd – lower than Poland, the Czech republic, France, Italy and Spain.

While only three countries pay their teachers more than we do.

Six countries spend more than 6% of GDP on education: Portugal spends 6.1%; USA 6.2%; Norway 6.3%; Denmark 6.4%; New Zealand 6.5%.

Guess which country spends the highest percentage of GDP on education?

Because you’re brilliant, you will know that it’s the UK of course with 6.7%

Brilliant, eh, Miss Collier? Outstandingly brilliant – but only in the production of expensive mediocrity.


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3 Comments on Britain’s Potemkin Education system continues to fail

  1. Most of us put secondary education behind us in our late teens, and move on with our lives giving it little consideration again until crossing its path again as a parent. I’ll never forget the biggest bout of cognitive dissonance I’ve ever experienced following my reacquaintance with the education system as a parent in the 1990’s. I’d assumed my glorious grammar education must surely have been improved upon over the intervening decades, yet it appeared to me that what I now saw before me was an education system a shadow of it’s former glory, steeped in egalitarian mediocrity and marxist theory. Yet I held my tongue, how could I be right, and everyone else around me, including the whole of the educational establishment, wrong?
    It gives me no pleasure to know that my paranoid thoughts back then were not paranoid at all, they were spot on.