R W Bateman BSc
We are short of physics students ("Physics first aid", Education+, 6 February) for the same reason that we are short of violinists and fast bowlers. Physics is difficult, and we have brought up a generation which expects all activities to be easy.
So Mr Woodhead thinks "standards need to be improved in half of primary schools and two-fifths of secondaries". Perhaps he might like to reconcile this bleak view of the educational system with the fact that standards, as measured by results, have improved year in, year out, for the past 15 years.
It can hardly have escaped his notice that the proportion of youngsters securing "two or more A/AS passes" has doubled over the period 1980 to 1995, while those achieving "five or more GCSEs" has increased from 24 per cent to 43 per cent.
Dr J Murphy
Department of Educational Research,
University of Lancaster
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