Once again we are witnessing our annual mindless convolutions over the approach to adult life of sixteen and eighteen year-olds as examination results are published. The media circus, and the commentary of self-important “educationalists” is about as significant to national life as the European Song Contest.
This happens because it is far, far easier for politician to interfere with state education and direct schools than to address social ills directly. It is mere pretence that they are doing something important.
Why “test” young people at sixteen and eighteen? Why not every five years say to determine what sort of employee, or neighbour or parent or citizen they have become?
If inspecting and regulating schools is so effective why not inspect and regulate parents whose influence is far greater? (Can you imagine Tony Blair crying “Parents, parents, parents?”)
Achievement at sixteen or eighteen is dwarfed by what we do later as adults. I re-took O-level English literature ten years after failing it at school and became an English teacher with a degree in English and, later an examiner for the subject I had failed at school.
Education, especially school education, is simply the beginning of a process, not the end.