Tory propaganda against teachers continues | Bernie Evans

As Angela Rayner says, the Tories “need to come clean and stop deceiving the public” over their deliberate underfunding of state schools” (Morning Star, 09/10/18). “Using misleading figures on school funding” is simply one way this government dupes the electorate, but lying is only one of its methods.  Years of cuts have meant inevitably that schools have to reduce the subjects on offer, especially at examination level, and the latest one to suffer is music. The number of schools offering music at A-level has apparently fallen by 15% in two years, whilst research by Sussex University shows…

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Taxing question about the City | Bernie Evans

If, as your business editor suggests, the Square Mile “is responsible for around £72bn in taxes each year”, rather than forgetting the role played by the City in the financial chaos of 2008-9, and the huge debt banks owe to British taxpayers after their bailout, shouldn`t the relevant “taxing question”  be –  how much more profit can the banks hope to make out of the British people? (A taxing question, 11/10/18) Why can`t banks offer mortgages to first time buyers that won`t cripple them financially for years to come rather than having interest rates which guarantee obscene bonuses and…

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Ideas to reduce teacher workload | Bernie Evans

It`s no wonder triple marking is “of particular concern” for teachers suffering from massive work overload (Morning Star, 02/10/18). Whoever thought it a good idea certainly wasn`t teaching in a state school, and probably had no experience of the pressure teachers are continually placed under; neither had the various secretaries of state who keep undermining the work of teachers with their support for an inspection process which bases conclusions on results and data.     In fact, the amount of time given to marking pupils` work has to be reconsidered at the highest level, and appropriate…

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Guardian letter on unfairness of Pre-U exams | Bernie Evans

With Oxford and Cambridge universities “still dominated by white, wealthy students, many of whom privately educated”, the “transition programme” being introduced by Cambridge does not go far enough (Cambridge sets up £500m scheme to help poor students, 02/10/18). Whilst both universities are willing to accept Pre-U examinations as entrance qualifications instead of insisting on A-levels, which as Ofqual admits are “national qualifications based on content set by the government”, it is difficult to judge the relationship between Oxbridge and the private education sector as anything but too…

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Unpublished Observer letter on Pre-U exams | Bernie Evans

Barbara Ellen rightly criticised the “two-tier child society” which exists in modern Britain, with financially advantaged “absurdly mollycoddled” (While well-off children are cosseted, we throw poorer kids to the wolves, 30.09.18). What she didn`t mention is how the pampering continues up to university age, with many schools in the private sector now replacing A-levels with Pre-U exams, mostly marked and set by private school teachers, and with very high A*-A grade percentages.  The examination watchdog, Ofqual, does regulate Pre-U exams, but does not apply what it called in a response to a…

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i letter on Pre-U exams | Bernie Evans

Sperlinger, McLellan and Pettigrew are right to say that a “more radical rethink of the form and structure of the higher education system” is essential, but more thought is needed to increase fairness when achievement is considered for admission (Scrap degrees, forget graduation! Study for free! 04/10/18). Making “higher demands” for applications from those attending private schools is fine as long as the same means of gaining the necessary examination grades is used.   At present far too many private schools are abandoning A-levels in favour of Pre-U exams, which are nearly all set and…

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The citizenship test! | Bernie Evans

Like Sajid Javid, I fail to see any point in a citizenship test which requires knowledge of Henry VIII`s wives, but what I would like to know is what exactly are the “British values” he and the rest of the Tory party think “bind our society together” (Javid to toughen citizenship test, 03/10/18). Judging by the last eight years of Tory rule, they would appear to be a belief in increasing inequality, encouraging tax avoidance, imposing austerity measures on the most unfortunate, allowing Rachman-like landlords free rein to exploit tenants, and decreasing the life chances of all but the…

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