A Christian Eye on Politics

The Amazing Demise of British Educational Standards

H ere in the UK, we are now being told that a million UK citizens cannot read. One in six people who work in London are functionally illiterate. A quarter of primary school leavers are unable to read or write properly. Primary school age in the UK is 4-11, so this is quite a serious assessment of a quarter of British eleven year olds. These are appalling, almost incredible, statistics for a western European 21st-century society. We repeat: we are talking here about Great Britain, once a world-wide model for high educational standards, once a nation which served as a model of how the masses could be literate and intelligent. But something has gone seriously wrong with a nation which, according to Mark Twain, once had "the most well-educated people on this earth."

Committed Socialists Infiltrated the British educational system from the early 1960s bringing an introduction of a group of "teaching theories" which would insult the basic intelligence of Donald Duck. Alas, the damage is now done.

On 19th July, 2010, an important paper on national literacy in Britain, compliled by Miriam Gross, was published. It has caused a predictable storm even though it has only served to confirm what many had been thinking for some while.

The problems are widespread, they start with appalling teaching standards in primary schools and spread all the way to the universities. A number of years ago committed socialists became embedded within Britain's educational system; these people brought a whole new philosophy of learning. According to many of these new breed of teachers, the student must equally contribute to their own learning. Teaching should be a two-way process. Even primary school teachers should 'receive' from their pupils as well as giving to them. In his article in the The Mail Online on 20/7/10, Max Hastings pointed out some of the chaos which has resulted from liberal/leftist teaching conceptions,

"...After visiting primary schools, talking to teachers and attending classes, Gross [the author of the report], paints a portrait of a mad world dominated by the theory that education must be 'child led.' This means, according to Gross: 'Ask pupils questions rather than give answers; elicit information rather than impart it. Allow pupils as much choice as possible in what tasks and activities they undertake in class. Don't interrupt a pupil. Don't put pressure on children to learn something if they don't want to.' In European schools [in general], the use of slang and argot is not permitted in school work. In kindly, silly Britain [however], children are encouraged to read stories and poems in ethnic dialect - for instance, Barbadian patois.

Teachers assist illiterate children to cheat their way to passes in the government's SATS assessments at primary school, to sustain the lie of progress. This educational establishment is committed to teach reading and writing by the 'whole word' method - discredited by independent assessors - because it is thought to be 'easier for the kids.' The ideologues stubbornly refuse to accept overwhelming evidence that synthetic phonics - teaching children to link sounds and letters - works much better.

Most people, and most parents, know that schools are getting it wrong, that children left to do their own thing will learn little or nothing ...Teachers also reject such obvious disciplines as correcting children's spelling and grammar. The head of a Church of England primary school told Miriam Gross defiantly: 'It's so important not to crush the children's creativity when they write down a story. 'It would undermine their confidence if we pointed out mistakes.'

But ma'am, how in God's name will your pupils learn to do things right if nobody tells them when they do it wrong?

Pupils waste time in classes in which they are encouraged to discuss their relationships, home lives and families. Irina Tyk, headmistress of the elite Holland House preparatory school in Central London, says that one visiting school inspector complained last year that her five and six-year-olds 'seemed unaware of their cultural background or what their race is.' Tyk riposted with a good sense that obviously horrified him: 'How wonderful. Why should five-year-olds be thinking about background and race?' What is so shocking about what is happening, or rather not happening, is the arrogance of this Left-wing educational establishment in the face of overwhelming evidence of their failure...."

As Max Hastings also noted, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has reported that a quarter of employers who take on school leavers are obliged to provide remedial literacy training. Universities are also being forced to offer first-year students basic writing courses. The head of BT (British Telecom), says that of 26,000 applicants for apprenticeships, a quarter 'lacked the basic skills to get on in the workplace.' Robin Brace, the founder, editor and organizer of UK Apologetics tells me that back in the 1990s, in the first year of his theology degree, one of the lecturers took several people in his group to task for having no understanding of how to use paragraphs in their written essays!

There has also been a growing suspicion for the last number of years that various school examinations are being 'dumbed-down,' with good grades being much easier to achieve than was once the case. And certain British universities are now offering monumentally stupid degree courses - we are very sorry, but 'stupid' is the only way to describe them! Margaret Thatcher was right, 'Sociology' is hardly a degree subject at all but things have got much worse since then. We now even have 'Madonna Studies' - no, that is not, as one might think, a study of the concept of 'madonna' from medieval history, it is a study of the current pop star! Yes, seriously!!

Even the BBC, a socialist-influenced British corporation if ever there was one, admitted this:

'The chief inspector of schools in England, Chris Woodhead has accused universities of devaluing higher education by offering "quasi-academic degrees." 'Madonna Studies,' 'golf course management,' 'pig enterprise management,' knitwear and beauty therapy courses were cited as examples of degree courses that add little or nothing to students' employment prospects.
For many who remember poring over the likes of Plato, Voltaire or Nietzsche, such a turn around in higher education leaves them thinking some new courses just have to be a joke.' (source:

Miriam Gross's new paper on British education clearly highlights the fact that Britain's educationalists have betrayed the people's trust and that many teachers are simply unfit to teach. All of this has been the result of the socialist mass-infiltration into the British educational system from the early 1960s bringing an introduction of a group of "teaching theories" which would insult the basic intelligence of Donald Duck. The great problem is that these failed and foolish ideas, which have reduced Twain's "the most well-educated people on this earth," to a nation which - all too often - is seemingly only well-schooled in 'East Enders' and 'Coronation Street,' are widespread, running from the primary schools to the universities.

But school and college teachers cannot be blamed for everything, one of the greatest problems in primary education is that children are now joining the system who understand nothing of discipline, paying attention, or showing respect to adults. Such failings start in the home, all too often that happens to be a home with an absent mother who believes that earning extra money is more important than carefully raising one's own children, instilling good traits in them from an early age.
The Christian Hawk. July 24th, 2010.