Harrow head attacks 'worthless qualifications'
Too many state schools are cramming their pupils with “worthless qualifications” to boost their position in exam league tables, a leading independent school head said today.
Barnaby Lenon, the headmaster of Harrow school, said that state schools were opting for “soft” A-level options for pupils which gave them no chance of getting into elite universities.
His comments were echoed by the shadow Education Secretary, Michael Gove, when he addressed a conference of leading independent and state school heads in London.
Mr Gove quoted statistics showing the number of youngsters on free school meals sitting media studies at GCSE was greater that the combined number sitting physics, chemistry and biology.
Mr Lenon told the same conference: “Let us not deceive our children especially those from the poorest homes with worthless qualifications so that they become like citizens of Weimar Germany or Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, carrying their certificates around in a wheelbarrow.
“We are producing pupils like finalists in the The X Factor – they want to be the next Britney Spears but they can’t sing a note.”
Mr Lenon said one of the key reasons why independent school pupils dominated entry into top universities compared with comprehensive school pupils of similar ability was that they had been put in for “hard” A-levels.
Only 14 per cent of those who took A-levels were from fee-paying schools, whereas 39 per cent of those with three grade-A passes including chemistry and maths had attended private schools, as had 54 per cent of those with three As including a modern foreign language.
Mr Lenon also warned against giving top priority to improving social mobility as a government policy. It inevitably led to a “dumbing down” of standards, he argued. “The main aim should be to educate all children really well,” he added. “If we do this then social mobility will follow.”
Earlier, Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats’ Treasury spokesman, questioned whether Britain was sending too many youngsters to universities. He argued they should be channelled into further education colleges to take apprenticeships instead.
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
Justin Bieber posts Instagram photo of Orlando Bloom crying after Ibiza fight 'over Miranda Kerr'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Kelsey Grammer forgives the man who raped and murdered his sister in 1975
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 5 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers neede...
£111 - £163 per day + £111 - £163 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The posi...
£64 - £69 per day + Competitive London rates of pay : Randstad Education Group...