National Grammar Schools Association
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Why Labour dumb down A-levels: to destroy the middle class

18th August 2002 - The Mail on Sunday

The season of lies and emotional blackmail is here again. Anyone who dares doubt that A-level standards are really rising is damned as a cruel bully for upsetting teenagers who have worked so hard for their devalued chits. Ministers insist exams have not got easier against all the evidence from employers and universities that many students can barely spell or count. Some of them even need remedial courses in subjects where they have scored such superb grades.
Why can't Labour be honest about this?

Partly it's because it cannot be honest about anything. This Government has a natural instinct to lie because it survives by concealing its real purpose from the voters.

But there is a more pressing and more frightening reason. Labour is trying to abolish the old British middle class.
A proper middle class is self-reliant, hard to fool and naturally conservative. All free countries have several million such people. They are the foundation of liberty under the law.

By middle class, I don't just mean white-collar workers and the well-off. I mean the vast 'respectable' working class as well. It has nothing to do with snobbery, everything to do with education, hard work, family life, thrift and self-discipline.

The old school system of selection and tough exams was swelling that middle class and helping them to use their talents to the full as never before.

By the mid-Sixties, the children of the poor were storming into Oxford and Cambridge on their own merits.

The stupid class distinctions of pre-war Britain were collapsing. Look at the biographies of many of our age's most
successful people and you will find they went to selective grammar schools which have since ceased to exist.

At about this time, the Labour Party began to attack those schools. It rightly pointed out that those who failed to get into good grammars went to low-grade secondary moderns.

But instead of improving the bad secondary moderns, it wrecked the good grammar schools. Experts knew perfectly well that this would lower standards. One of the chief advocates of comprehensives, Sir Graham Savage, admitted this as long ago as 1928.

Labour was worried about politics, not education. It saw the grammars as nurseries of future Tony voters and obstacles to socialism, as indeed they were.

Rather than let that continue, it was prepared to smash up hundreds of the best free schools in the world.
Ever since it did this, exam standards and university entrance levels have had to be lowered year by year to cover up the wretched truth.

And so it will go on, until everyone passes all their A-levels at A-grade, everyone goes to university and everyone is so ignorant that they all vote to join the euro.