Start Violin music: I came from a poor background and attended a secondary school "comprehensive" in the 70's that could be politely described as "rough". There was drugs, knives and, I sh*t you not, pitchforks! All the bad things that happen in schools today we're happening then, including the constant dicking around with the curriculum, trendy teaching methods that always failed, overcrowded "mixed ability" classes, streaming poorly applied, then cancelled, then poorly applied again. Having to stand in a seperate queue and even at seperate tables (like lepers) if you had the misfortune to qualify for "free" school dinners. Teaching to the exam was common and just as ineffective.
I left school with Grade B's (O Levels, not A's) in Maths, Physics and Chemistry and a CSE GRADE 1 in Computers (we had one teletype machine and punched cards! Yay). Somehow, I've managed to carve myself out a decent career in IT (after doing a BTEC at college - they paid me 25 quid a week to do it 50% went to mum and the other third [joke] went on beer and SPACE DEFENDER). End Violin music.
The POINT is, you can still succeed DESPITE our lame education system (and it's been lame for over 30 years). I'd have KILLED to be allowed to do A-levels and go onto university and I get so angry when I see "students" wasting their opportunites to study complete gash like "media studies". I'm angry that "soft" subjects are taught at university at all. The world (not just UK) needs to select the very best people (from an early age) and encourage and exploit their scientific capabilites. for it is SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY that will solve the problems of the world and not our capability to make documentaries about it or expressing ourselves through th e medium of dance. I'm rambling. Hang all politicians (especially Shirley Williams, remember her?)
Grenade, coz we're all gonna need one soon.
If you are wondering about the pitchfork, some kid bought it in and attacked a PE teacher with it, didn't see it myself though.
Oh, one more thing...Religious Education should be banned in schools. It destroys the mind (which of course, is it's purpose).