For the last two and a half years I’ve kept a diary. I don’t remember particularly why I started it – although luckily, my diary remembers for me. As recorded, it was “to hold for myself a private compendium of my thoughts and feelings, highs and lows, successes and regrets, so that when I’m older I might browse through it and remind myself of what it was like to be alive five, ten, fifteen years ago.” Reading through it, I can now recall my reasons more easily, and consequently I’m feeling a little re-invigorated about maintaining the habit.
To those with it, it can seem the most valuable thing in the world, but to those without it, it can often seem completely unnecessary. I’m writing about education. Currently in Britain, statistics record that only 50-60% of students achieve the 5 A*-C grades deemed necessary for continued education or basic employment outside of apprenticeships.1 Is it me, or is this statistic diabolical? How is it that over 40% of all children leaving secondary schools are deemed unfit for basic employment or continued academic achievement – and this in the nation supposedly ranked 6th2 in the world for its quality of education?
The latest figures available were published October 2012 by the Department of Education:
58.6 per cent achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C or equivalent including English and mathematics GCSEs or iGCSEs, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from 2010/11 (Table 1a, Chart 1).