Balls is spinning instead of fixing our failing education system

March 14, 2008 9:35 AM

Ed Balls has come in for criticism from the official data watchdog, the Statistics Commission, for trying to bury bad news on the number of children getting into their preferred school.  Our education system is failing and the Minister, tasked with doing the impossible and managing such a huge system from the centre without experience, is spending his time spinning instead of getting on with fixing things!


Here are some statistics on education from the Better Government position paper (PDF):


  • 11 year-olds: 25% leave primary school without sufficient ability in reading and writing to tackle the secondary school curriculum.

  • 14 year-olds: almost 30% do not reach the expected levels in English, Maths and Science to tackle GCSEs.

  • 16 year-olds: almost 60% do not achieve a GCSE grade C or better in all the three core subjects of English, Maths and Science.

  • After 11 years of state education at a cost of over £75,000 per child, pupils are leaving school functionally illiterate, innumerate and unskilled:

  • 40% do not achieve at least a C grade in GCSE English.

  • Some seven million adults in England cannot locate the page number for plumbers in an alphabetical index to the Yellow Pages.

  • 47% would be unable to achieve a grade G at GCSE maths.

  • The OECD finds that Britain has the second highest level of low-skilled 25-34 year olds in the 30 countries of the OECD – twice the level of Germany or the USA.

Ed Balls has come in for criticism from the official data watchdog, the Statistics Commission, for trying to bury bad news on the number of children getting into their preferred school.  Our education system is failing and the Minister, tasked with doing the impossible and managing such a huge system from the centre without experience, is spending his time spinning instead of getting on with fixing things!


Here are some statistics on education from the Better Government position paper (PDF):


  • 11 year-olds: 25% leave primary school without sufficient ability in reading and writing to tackle the secondary school curriculum.

  • 14 year-olds: almost 30% do not reach the expected levels in English, Maths and Science to tackle GCSEs.

  • 16 year-olds: almost 60% do not achieve a GCSE grade C or better in all the three core subjects of English, Maths and Science.

  • After 11 years of state education at a cost of over £75,000 per child, pupils are leaving school functionally illiterate, innumerate and unskilled:

  • 40% do not achieve at least a C grade in GCSE English.

  • Some seven million adults in England cannot locate the page number for plumbers in an alphabetical index to the Yellow Pages.

  • 47% would be unable to achieve a grade G at GCSE maths.

  • The OECD finds that Britain has the second highest level of low-skilled 25-34 year olds in the 30 countries of the OECD – twice the level of Germany or the USA.

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