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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Waste of Energy

Dear Polly,

I am bursting with stifled rants on education but before I let rip....we can't just move on from the Third Runway decision. It has got to be overthrown. We are a democracy. Other than those wanting to make money on the back of an expansion that expediates global warming...who else wants this at Heathrow? Wake up Gordon and hear the noise pollution. Shame on you Miliband. What is your remit exactly and who has tied your hands? Hopes were pinned on you...pivotal player, fresh thinking, decisive action. Why not adopt a statesperson to lead the crusade to fight climate change...someone from Greenpeace perhaps who is not worried about political standing but prioritizes human survival over the economic wealth of our country. A courageous leader to get us out of this mess. It was meant to be you.

Oh Yes! I've signed the No 10 petition and several others. Geoff Hoon's garden is littered with holiday brochures on Bhutan and I'm thinking of moving my shed to Airplot. I'm still frustrated though because it's not enough. What about a convoy of alternative transport modes circling Heathrow? The whole transport system needs a creative and radical transformation.

As for education Polly SATS essays should be scrapped? What a sad joke. The reasoning being that examiners find them grammatically incorrect,unintelligible and there are not even enough exam markers. The multiple choice type exam is cheaper and quicker to mark. Excuse me for sounding a little reticent but it's because I'm anxious that I've may have missed something...like the blogging obvious....TEACH THEM TO WRITE!! Excuse the creeping cynicism, but why don't we just give the kids a certificate and ask them to colour them in?

Finally it is precisely that free thinking that will encourage our bright minds to explore outside of the box. The choice of subjects, exam preparation, soft skill abilities and what school you went to, are all influential factors in landing a place at either Oxford or Cambridge. More so than qualifications. I had not realised the extent to which this is the case.

I fully appreciate that if UCAS receives 40 000 applications each year for 25 000 places at university there must be tough decisions made. Clearly top universities have to rely on criteria beyond exam results to sift out the best potential student. I suspect that sourcing from favoured schools is all about comfort zone and not being prepared to take risks with the scallies from an unknown state school who look good on paper but may lack the full package. Here's a novel thought...why don't we make the exams harder? Duh! Sorry Hazel...not even creeping in my cynicism....I'm right out there. Once upon a time you said that
'Labour must remain the party of success and aspiration'.
That doesn't mean you make the exams so easy that kids tootle along with a misplaced confidence then flunk big time when university comes round and they can't draft a personal statement! Success and aspiration...fantastic....if you are lucky enough to emerge from the independent sector, grammar schools or The London Oratory School. What about the rest? That will be the state system Mr Balls.

Now, to rub salt in the wound...get this!

Yours grumpily,
Ivor X

PS Looking forward to The (Gold) Star later when I've shaken off my Oxbridge Blues and am reinvigorated from revelling in Obama Mania.

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