This caught my eye, from the Guardian LiveBlog: (below text is from the Guardian)
On the Today programme this morning (see 9.35am) Michael Gove confirmed that he wanted to replace GCSEs with a new qualification. At one point he implied that the alternative exam would be like an O-level.
What we need to do is have an examination that has all the rigour of the old O-Level, but which is sat by a majority of students so we can ensure that everyone is treated fairly. The aim is that is should be sat by the overwhelming majority.
This seems to have caused some concern in the office of Nick Clegg, who has been working on this issue with the education secretary over the summer. Apparently Clegg and Gove are close to an agreement. But Clegg is adamant that the new qualification won’t be like the old O-level because there will be no return to a two-tier system. (In the old days, able pupils took O-levels and those deemed less able were made to sit CSEs instead.) A source close to Clegg has just been on the phone to me to make this clear.
The one thing that we have always said is that there will be no return to a two-tier system. And the defining characteristic about the O-level was that it was a two-tier system. That is not what the government is looking at.
Clegg accepts that some pupils won’t take the new exam. But some pupils don’t take GCSEs, for example because they have special needs. According to the source close to Clegg, it is envisaged that the proportion opting out of the new qualification will not be any higher and that “to all intents and purposes it will be a single-tier exam”.
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Liberals need to understand we already have a two-tier education system. Majority will leave school, currently, with the inability to do basic maths and suffer from poor English skills; either the exam system is too easy or broken.
If there is a problem then it should be addressed.
Most parents, employers and universities foresaw a crisis in literacy and numeracy. Society should be waking up to this before it has a major impact, especially within the wider of economy. Britain cannot compete if workers cannot read or write proper English and solve basic mathematical problems.
A mature party would help to provide a solution, not exploit the situation for political gain or to seek a ‘separate identity’ from the Tories.
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Lord Bragg described the King James Bible as “the most influential book in western civilisation over the last 400 years” and I most certainly would not disagree with his assertion. It is a remarkable piece of English history and culture and, odd coming from an atheist, should be celebrated; purely on the grounds of literature and culture – spiritualism really is insignificant. You can marvel at the translation without associating yourself to monotheism.
Children, as well as society at large, should be taught to admire and respect our cultural heritage – even if it might be irrelevant to contemporary times. The use of the English language, in its more purest form, makes the King James Bible one of the most significant and inspirational books ever to be written. The 16th Century schism, better known as the Protestant Reformation, broke the traditional monopoly of the Catholic Church and the restriction of the Bible in the hands of the literate and educated priesthood; growth of the printing press and widespread publication of the Bible created a sense of individualism in religion. After the schism, the peasant could have a direct relationship with God and did not necessarily require a priest to participate as the medium.
When the King James Bible was published in 1611 and entered circulation, the social impact was revolutionary: it encouraged an illiterate population to read. Granted, it was not until 1870 and the introduction of government subsidised education which saw the drastic declines in illiteracy, but ‘the Word of God’ did stimulate many of the peasant classes to read.
For an atheist not to recognise and respect the cultural and social impact of the King James Bible (just because of God) is a highly absurd argument; rather puerile to oppose religion for the sake of opposing it. As I said previously, it is the most beautiful use of the English language and led to its growth as the most spoken language on this Earth; the King James Bible not only gave rise to the Anglosphere and England’s dominance on global culture and literature, but assisted in the birth of our modern England.
Even as an atheist, it sits proudly in my personal library.
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Give the Queen a new yacht for the jubilee, says minister
Michael Gove has brushed aside Britain’s economic problems to propose the public donate a new royal yacht to the Queen as a mark of respect during this year’s diamond jubilee celebrations, according to a confidential letter to fellow ministers.
I tend not to use offensive language on my blog, as a self confessed suave man of eloquence. But, Gove, you can fuck off, mate. Seriously.
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