In my day the 11 + wasn’t nerve-rackingly stressful. We all knew who the cleverer and less clever were and there were few surprises. Now just read Rod Liddle’s brilliant piece about his daughter’s terror that her life could be ruined forever by one dodgy 11+ exam, to capture the real distastefulness of the issue.
Why these anachronistic labels? Why secondary modern or comprehensive or grammar school, why not use football technology - Premier Schools for the best, Championship schools for the rest?
The biggest issues are:
- Is the overall quality of our education good enough? (Hands up if you know the answer.)
- How do we accelerate the progress of the brightest whose potential is so often stemmed by domestic poverty?
- Are we creating an education fit for 2030 purpose?
This week Barry Myers a film director died and in his obituary was best remembered for a Teenage Anti-Smoking film created by the ad agency FCO. Back then in the 1980s smoking was normal. Today it’s like Grammar and Secondary Modern and Steam Trains a vestige of old Britain. Look at the film: it stands the test of time.
It’s Russia, however that can show us the way in reinventing the past. Stalin, still darling of the people (after all what are a few million executions?) and inveterate smoker is now depicted as a smoker of e-cigarettes, Uncle Jo is reborn as a modern voice of wisdom.
And Lenin and Marx are close behind with genial smiles and laptops, trophy watch and Pussy Cat Doll girlfriend. In a few seconds history is rewritten and icons of the past are reincarnated as cool and modern. The revamped revolutionary Vladimir Lenin (left) is shown as a young man alongside a glamorous and ultra-modern but nameless female ideologist as well as a casual looking Karl Marx
And finally - Brighton. We moved here 13 years ago and for a while, to a rather apathetic response, I promoted the argument that this was potentially a City of the Future…big intellectually, artistically, architecturally and commercially - the Powerhouse of the South. Apathy put out the fire of my enthusiasm. As a Green Council struggled to govern, as rough sleepers became more of a fixture and rubbish piled up in the streets I thought Dosshouse of the South was probably more apt.
But a lot is changing. The two universities are doing well. There are massive infrastructure plans. And in the new Good Food Guide, Brighton gets seven pages (used to get one) - the same as Manchester and Birmingham.
And the i360. This delighted the critics by breaking down last week. Why? The overly sensitive stability system broke down because people inside were rushing en masse to the bar. Some images of humanity never change…thankfully…cheers.