Category Archive • Falling standards
November 28, 2004
Ofsted cheats!

This is very entertaining:

Ofsted, the government's education standards watchdog, has admitted that parts of an inspection report given to a top Birmingham school were copied from a report on another school more than 100 miles away.

Lordswood Girls' School - judged in government league tables to be the best in the country for improving pupil performance - is planning to sue Ofsted after discovering that two pages of a critical review were identical to an earlier report on Parkside School in Bradford.

'When I realised my school's report contained judgments on areas that the Ofsted team had not inspected during their visit, I became suspicious,' said Jane Hattatt, the headteacher at Lordswood. 'I thought: "What would a stupid child have done if they wanted to pretend to have completed work they had not done?" [So I] typed key phrases into the internet to find where they came from.'

The fact that an Ofsted report contained inaccurate information from another school will be highly embarrassing for the institution. Parents looking for the best schools read Ofsted reports closely and a good report can lead to a school being over-subscribed. Bad reports can have the opposite effect.

By the look of things, this is a case of sheer incompetence, rather than of anything more malevolent. However, it's not the kind of thing you want from school inspectors, is it?

See also this posting here.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 05:03 PM
Category: Falling standards
November 21, 2004
Darts education

DartsBoard.jpgSolid evidence of whether or not educational standards are actually declining is hard to come by. Here is some though:

The John Barras chain of public houses is installing calculators beside its darts boards. Declining standards in mathematics have left younger players unable to do the sums, the chain claims.

This is quoted by Giles Smith, at the top of an article about "darts education". (Gratuitous darts board picture there, drawn on maths type paper!) Smith then cracks a lot of jokes which I quickly got bored with. I preferred the other quote he stuck at the top, from darts champion Phil "The Power" Taylor:

Darts is fantastic for honing your maths skills. They should introduce darts calculations into the GCSE maths syllabus.

… although, like so many, Phil "The Power" Taylor jumps from "X might be a good idea", to "X should therefore be compulsory". But this habit is an educational defect shared by many more persons than Phil "The Power" Taylor.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 08:45 PM
Category: Falling standardsMaths
May 28, 2004
Criminals ain't what they used to be

This is a real blog posting, so no link to someone else's piece in a newspaper.

Philip Chaston, who writes for Airstrip One, is in my kitchen, attending what remains of my last Friday meeting this month, and is moaning about the standard of young criminals these days.

Philip is no heavyweight boxing champion, but he tells me that from time to time, juvenile would-be muggers try to mug him outside Epsom railway station, which is apparently quite a rough place. Philip just shouts at them and they retreat in disarray.

The moral of this, says Philip, is that our education system is such garbage that even criminals aren't properly prepared for their chosen careers.

Patrick Crozier asked: "Why don't they get properly kitted up? If I was robbing people, I'd have the necessary equipment with me."

"These kids are seriously stupid", says Philip. "They can't even rob me efficiently."

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:46 PM
Category: Falling standards