“All Must Have Prizes culture is failing an entire generation” says Ms Birbalsingh
. But there are inconsistencies in her report. She writes that she loves state education then says how “only 7% of our children are lucky enough to attend a public school and escape the state education system which, in some cases, consigns one to a job flipping burgers”. Loving a system and then regretting that pupils can’t escape from it is contradictory.
Ms Birbalsingh berates the “all must succeed” culture by saying that GCSEs have been dumbed down to allow more children to pass. The subject of grade inflation is a serious one. Radio 4’s More or Less
concluded that there had been inflation of up to two grades in A level, although a Fullfact investigation
could find no conclusive answer. I’m with Ms Birbalsingh on this – I do think it is easier for pupils today to obtain a C Grade at GCSE. You would think then that she would argue that GCSE should be recalibrated to 1987 standards when the exam was introduced: GCSE C and above was designed to demonstrate above-average academic ability (in line with General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level), and GCSE E was the grade which an average pupil should achieve). Ms Birbalsingh’s contention, however, is that our education system is failing because ALL students do not achieve GCSE C or above. If the day arrives that GCSE C is achievable by all 16 year-olds then it will have degenerated into nothing more than a school-leaving certificate like the German Hauptschule which merely shows a student didn’t drop out.
I thought she was against “All must have prizes”.
Ms Birbalsingh ends with a rallying cry, “Look out of the cage I say! Reclaim freedom of thought” And set our country free.” Perhaps readers could suggest some suitable martial music to accompany this call to arms.