Tag Archives: level

PMQs: here’s how Badmouther Boris got from his exams failure to accusing Keir Starmer of IRA sympathy

Johnson v Starmer: in the PMQs battle-of-words, Starmer came out the clear winner against a prime minister that didn’t seem to know what question he was being asked to answer – let alone how to do it.

Prime ministerial failure Boris Johnson showed us all he had no answers about the ‘A’ level results scandal when he wandered off in the middle of PMQs and started accusing Keir Starmer of sympathising with the IRA – by proxy.

The Labour leader had asked a reasonable question – when did Johnson know that there was a problem with the algorithm used by Ofqual and the Department for Education to produce results, as exams hadn’t taken place?

Johnson’s response was not only an insult to everybody whose results were tainted by the system that upgraded private school pupils and marked down those at state schools – it was a direct attack on Starmer, with no reason.

He was clearly off-balance; he did not know what to say about the exams fiasco – so he groped for an attack on the Labour leader that he (or more likely his team) had clearly prepared in advance.

See for yourself:

This is Johnson’s tactic, it seems: if he’s asked a tricky question, he’ll throw a dead cat on the table.

The barb about supporting the IRA had nothing to do with anything at all – particularly not Keir Starmer who, as he said, prosecuted many terrorists in his former role as a lawyer and as Director of Public Prosecutions.

It was simply a means of distracting attention away from the fact that his government failed ‘A’ level students across the country and he did not have an excuse.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Ofqual chief Sally Collier resigns – over letting Cummings chum’s company have contract?

Exams: If Sally Collier had examined Public First a little more closely, she might not have had to resign.

The big development in the ‘A’ level scandal yesterday (August 25) was the resignation of Ofqual boss Sally Collier – apparently under criticism about the algorithm that marked down students from poorer backgrounds.

That’s what Tory mouthpiece the BBC is saying:

Ofqual chief Ms Collier has been under fire for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks, making them unfair, according to heads.

It also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places.

But didn’t that only happen because Ofqual had hired useless lobbying/research firm Public First, run by friends of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove?

A spokesperson said: “Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by the cancellation of exams, the single tender justification process was used for this contract, due to the need to urgently procure the work, in line with our procurement policy.”

This comment makes it clear that Public First was hired to find a way forward for students’ exam results. It came up with the infamous algorithm and caused a scandal.

And we now know that the government paid £49,000 for that disaster.

So it seems Ms Collier has resigned, but the fault lies with James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, the people behind Public First.

Other contracts given to the firm under the “no competition” regulations which apply when a service is deemed “urgent” during emergency circumstances include £840,000 to research public opinion on government policies – including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not bad for a firm whose registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Another contract saw the company handed £116,000 by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify ways to “lock in the lessons learned” by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis.

But will the Tories learn the obvious lesson – that Public First should not be hired to carry out any work under any circumstances at all, whether in an emergency or not?

It seems doubtful.

Source: Ofqual chief Sally Collier steps down after exams chaos – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Grammar school pressured into reversing rejection of under-achieving sixth-formers

Lawyers acting for some of the affected families had issued judicial review proceedings against St Olave’s [Image: Gareth Fuller/PA].

Does anybody think the head and governors of St Olave’s would have backtracked on their policy if not for the glare of public disapproval on them?

And what will happen now? Will the issue be brushed under the carpet or will we see schools behaving more responsibly in future?

I fear the former.

The grammar school revealed to be systematically pushing pupils out halfway through the sixth form has dramatically backed down and said that all affected pupils will be able to rejoin the school next week without conditions.

Pressure from parents taking legal action and media coverage … has seen St Olave’s grammar school in Orpington, south-east London, change its stance and drop its stringent academic requirements, which had seen pupils who had not achieved top marks being abruptly told to leave midway though their A-level courses.

The affair has lifted a lid on the possibly illegal practice designed to boost a school’s league table position, carried out at a number of high-achieving schools across England, despite schools being unable to exclude pupils for reasons other than behaviour. Friday’s development will put pressure on other schools which follow the same practice to reconsider their policies.

On Friday evening a statement was finally issued on the school’s behalf by the diocese of Chichester.

“Following a review of the school’s policy on entry to year 13, the headmaster and governors of St Olave’s grammar school have taken the decision to remove this requirement and we have today written to all parents of pupils affected to explain this and offer them the opportunity to return to the school and continue their studies,” it said.

“Our aim as a school has been and continues to be to nurture boys who flourish and achieve their full potential academically and in life generally. Our students can grow and flourish, making the very best of their talents to achieve success.”

Source: St Olave’s allows rejected sixth-formers to return to school | Education | The Guardian


Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

St Olave’s cruelty to pupils shows the ruthlessness of the league table system

St Olave’s grammar school in Orpington, Kent. ‘St Olave’s needs to rethink this shameful policy before it damages more of the young people in its care,’ writes Mark Crane [Image: Gareth Fuller/PA].

Can open, worms everywhere.

St Olave’s Grammar School has been exposed as expelling pupils for underperforming in mock examinations – in order to maintain its position at the top of school league tables.

The practice has been condemned as it harms the future of the pupils it discriminates against – and members of the public have come forward to express their disgust in the letters page of The Guardian.

Here’s Lucy Binney, of Oxford:

Young people who have achieved well enough at 16 to be accepted by these highly selective sixth forms are having to change school halfway through their A-levels, and are likely to end up with qualifications far below their potential.

When a school prioritises its league table position, it suits its interests better for a pupil to get no A-levels once off their hands, than for that pupil to get mediocre A-levels while still on the school roll.

The pupils involved and their families don’t usually make a fuss, because they are humiliated and don’t want to identify the young person.

So the strategy is not only to dump the under-performing pupils, but actually to sabotage their chances.

That is evil. It is exactly the opposite of the way a school should behave.

Sixth-form teacher David Hampton makes another excellent point:

While those responsible for the policy put their own kudos ahead of students’ needs, the media’s tendency to highlight only the successes of these highly selective schools doesn’t help.

True. As a local newspaper reporter, This Writer had to produce many stories praising schools on the exam results gained by their pupils.

But the practice of dumping students isn’t confined to grammar schools, according to Jane Weake, of London:

This practice is also commonplace in many London comprehensives… These students are just being cynically abandoned to sink or swim. Often they sink! This is not in their best interests.

Philip Kerridge of Bodmin asserts:

While schools are under enormous pressure to deliver results they will cheat. Who says so? Not only me but also Durham University’s Professor Rob Coe in evidence to a House of Commons committee investigating primary school assessment.

Environmental toxicologist Mark Crane, himself an Old Olavian, expressed his surprise at the school’s current policy:

If such a punitive system had been in operation when I was at the school then I, and most of my schoolmates, would have been asked to leave, and it is unlikely that I would have gone on to complete a PhD, teach at the University of London, publish over 100 scientific papers, and build a successful scientific consultancy.

So the school is harming not only pupils’ life chances but also the UK’s ability to compete, not only in academia but in commerce and world markets (I would say).

Retired headteacher Chris Dunne warns that the Conservative government’s drive to turn all schools into privately-owned academies would make parents’ attempts to gain redress almost impossible:

The parents who are now seeking legal redress against St Olave’s should count themselves lucky it is a maintained school, and as such governed by laws that make what amounts to an exclusion on these grounds illegal. The government’s drive to turn all schools into academies will effectively close off such an option for all but the most determined, and wealthy, parents.

So the Tories are complicit in this con.


Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Is there a lie at the heart of ‘top-achieving’ grammar schools?

Parents and teachers have criticised the school for behaving like ‘an exam factory’ [Image: David Jones/PA].

Is this how grammar schools achieve their elite status?

Around 16 pupils at St Olave’s Grammar School in Orpington have been slung out on their ear because they didn’t make the grade in AS and equivalent internal exams before entering their final A-level year – the top grade, that is.

This brings a new dimension to the “social mobility” argument about grammar schools: In this situation, the pupil’s background doesn’t matter at all – their only purpose is to present an impression that the school offers the highest-quality education and creates the best-qualified alumni, even when it doesn’t.

Doesn’t that make this organisation a fraud?

And what about the students who have been penalised? Their entire careers are in jeopardy because of this late-stage betrayal by the school they thought they could trust to guide them onto the next level of their lives.

Regardless of their background, their progress into the higher echelons of UK society has ground to an unceremonious halt.

Is it really because they aren’t good enough? Or is it because their teachers can’t be bothered to do the extra work?

It’s easier to just dump the chumps, after all – right?

Then the school maintains an unfairly-earned high status for which the staff haven’t had to work.

Is that what is happening here?

If so, Theresa May should kiss her plan for more grammar schools goodbye – forever.

One of the country’s leading grammar schools has been accused of acting unlawfully by throwing out sixth-form students who failed to get top grades in AS and equivalent internal exams ahead of their final A-level year.

About 16 pupils at St Olave’s grammar school in Orpington, in the London borough of Bromley, were told their places for year 13 – the last year of school – had been withdrawn after they failed to get the required three Bs. One father accused the school of dumping his son like “old garbage”.

Parents and teachers have criticised the school for behaving like “an exam factory”, focusing purely on results and school league table success at the expense of students’ education and welfare.

Days before the start of a new term, those students who have lost their places are reluctantly looking at alternative schools or colleges at which they can complete their A-levels in order to go on to university or pursue a career. All are devastated at losing their friendship group, and many are struggling to find schools that offer the same examining board.

Education experts say a number of other schools – including other high-achieving grammars – are employing similar tactics to ensure the best possible results, but it is thought to be the first time the issue been challenged in court.

Source: Grammar school ‘unlawfully threw out’ students who failed to get top grades | Education | The Guardian


Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook