Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thwack! You've Been a Very, Very Bad Boy, Mr Miliband

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thwack! You've Been a Very, Very Bad Boy, Mr Miliband

Article excerpt

Byline: ALLISON PEARSON

THE abolition of caning in schools was a good thing, but I think we should be prepared to bring it back for David Miliband. The Schools Minister made a speech yesterday claiming that there was no problem with A-level results, which will be published tomorrow and are expected to see up to a quarter of candidates getting A grades. Even those of us who failed maths can figure out that means 25 per cent of everyone who took the exam has come top.

Pity the poor thickie who gets a once-respectable C.

According to Mr Miliband, it is only the "British disease" that leads people to question how and why we have seen an improvement of several hundred per cent over the past 20 years, a period during which secondary schools have been in a pretty bad way.

"Stop saying pupils from Middle England haven't got the brains to do well," bellows Miliband as he tries to deflect the blame away from him and his shifty kind.

Here's why Mr Miliband deserves six of the best:

1 He tries our patience when he says he has seen no evidence that there is a decline in the standard of A-levels. If he can read or hear, he has the evidence. Thwack!

2 His own inspectors reveal that arts students are turning up at university unable to write a piece of continuous prose (formerly known as the essay).

Thwack!

3 A national crisis in maths and physics has been triggered as kids are taught such low-level stuff at school that they struggle to make the leap to college. Thwack!

4 Overstretched university lecturers set up remedial courses to try to bring first-year undergraduates up to - oh dear - A-level standard. Thwack!

5 Examiners are instructed not to deduct marks for bad grammar or spelling.

Thwack!

6 Employers struggle to pick candidates because A-level grades are no longer a reliable guide to achievement. …

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