I sometimes hear or read accusations of ‘dumbing down’ in education. It never fails to make me laugh.
I passed my 11+ with ease, went to an all-girls grammar school – and spent the next five years studying Jackie magazine.
I did the absolute minimum I could get away with, leaving school with a barely-scraped handful of O-levels; a similarly lacklustre performance at A-level failed to attract one single challenge to my poor attitude and general under-achievement. I was simply allowed to get away with it.
The average experience of a schoolchild or sixth form student now just doesn’t compare – they have to work and they have to work hard!
Children today perform tasks in junior and even infant school that I didn’t tackle until my teens.
And they can’t guarantee passes by a bit of last-minute cramming.
Sustained effort, discipline and self-assessment are the only route to success.
I was lucky enough to attend Havant Sixth Form College’s Awards Ceremony in December and what an inspiring evening it was, seeing young people – and adult learners – receive recognition for excellence, progress and citizenship.
Every prize winner had achieved extraordinary results, including the media student who scored a perfect 100 per cent in his film exam, and the young woman who had bucked the gender trend to study electronics both at sixth form level and now at university, with the firm intention of becoming an engineer.
These young people have demonstrated grit and determination in realising their potential.
There’s nothing ‘dumb’ about this generation.