The sorry state of British education, part 1, GCSEs

The first in a three-part series on the sorry state of British education. Hope you enjoy these multi-part blogs.  I started secondary school in 2008. Then, British secondary education was in a terrible mess; the Labour Education Secretary Ed Balls was presiding over a period of serious grade inflation. GCSEs, the qualification achieved by British …

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Ephemera

Colombia has been struggling with a particularly large and unlikely interloper: the hippopotamus. The African animals are multiplying in the area around Doradal, in the northwest of the country. It’s all the fault of the cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar. During his heyday as leader of the Medellín Cartel, he imported four hippos for his personal …

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What went wrong for the Left?

All across the developed world, mainstream centre-left parties are in decline. In France, the Netherlands and Greece, they have ceased to be even remotely relevant. In countries like Ireland and Italy, they have been replaced by left-wing populist movements- Sinn Fein and M5S respectively. In France and to a lesser extent Spain, they have been …

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Thought for the day

Unnatural vigilance is really required of the citizen because of the horrible rapidity with which human institutions grow old.”. (G.K. Chesterton, quoted in The Sunday Times) Was he thinking of the Constitution, liberal democracy, the rule of law, international treaties and cooperation, universities as promoters of critical thinking (not just job training), and financial services …

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The US: 50 years on and it seems the best intentions have come to nought

In 1968 the Kerner Commission recommended “massive and sustained investment in jobs and education to reduce black poverty , inequality and racial injustice”. Now, 50 years later, public schools have been re-segregated, the gap between the teaching quality for rich and poor is among the highest in the world. Schools in the Northeast are the …

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