Education Minister, Lord Nash, has told Peers that the school curriculum was “hijacked by political correctness” under Labour. And that Britain had “plummeted down” education league tables.
Speaking in a House of Lord’s debate about the role of education in promoting social mobility, Lord Nash said: “This can’t go on. It’s not fair on our children and we can’t compete internationally, economically with education of this standard.
“The greatest confidence trick ever perpetrated on the English public was the absolute scandal of GCSE equivalents.
“It’s hardly surprising that during the first decade of this century we plummeted down the international league tables…. and our school leavers are now amongst the most illiterate and innumerate in the developed world.”
He also complained that many young people were being persuaded to take subjects that were little or no use to employers.
Tom Bursnall from UKIP’s National Executive is a recruitment consultant who agrees with Lord Nash. Mr Bursnall said: “The curriculum has been watered down in a race to the bottom. When I was a school governor I could see how the system was stacked against the brightest pupils.
“The choices of subjects and the way the timetables were carved out force pupils into taking ‘soft’ subjects. All of these things, coupled with the culture of pupil-centric choice have led to the disease of mediocrity in our education system.
“Pupils have been encouraged to take subjects that they enjoy: bordering on hobbies in some cases. Such is the fear in the teaching profession that pupils may ‘fail’ in tougher subjects. Employers need candidates to have proper qualifications, that are useful in the marketplace.”
Lord Nash believes the tide will be turned by Conservative policies such as Free Schools, the expansion of Academies and the extra £350m in funding announced today.