Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

A Levels

with 16 comments

We All Came First

I am hardly a pace setter when it comes to formal qualifications. I’m still studying for my third doctorate at the University of Life.  I just can’t get the practicals right.

Nevertheless, in this year’s A level results 27% of candidates were awarded an A or A-star.  Absurd.  That’s like nearly a third of the drivers in a Grand Prix race ending up on the podium.

What use is that to employers trying to seperate Jensen Button in his 800 bhp Maclaren from Delboy in his 40 bhp Reliant Robin?

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 19, 2010 at 10:49 am

16 Responses

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  1. Absolutely agree, P. Completely absurd.

    When some of us were at this stage in life, there were 7% GOING to Universities, and few with many “As”. An “A” was very tough to achieve. No need to do better than an “A” (90-100%), in fact not possible, in those halcyon days when common sense ruled. However, a few more than 7% could write a comprehensible sentence with correct structure and spelling.

    Of course today all these A pluses brings in its wake the false sense of unquestionable knowledge and/or wisdom. So people are therefore up to reading or commenting at such as the Guardian and The Mail. So I suppose it keeps them off the streets.

    All winners in life, eh? Yeah, right.


    August 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

  2. Dats rite Jon. Da gd ol daze was best wernd dey?

    (Ooops, sorry, spellchecker in 2010 A level mode)

    Peter Reynolds

    August 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

    • Kwite rite.

      You’ve reminded me. Somewhere on my system I have a great spellchecker script. I should use it. Perhaps when I have finished my current attempt at saving Blair from the Dogs of Anti.


      (Thankless task, I know. Presumably some can only read what they already “KNOW”.)


      August 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      • You’re on a Forth Road Bridge job aren’t you with Tone? Mind you, I understand they’ve solved that now and they’re giving it a plastic coating every 15 years.

        You could always try that with Tone?

        Peter Reynolds

        August 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      • Forth Railway Bridge? Oh, I see. Painting it. I was worried for a moment!

        Yes, that’s right. Both of us. Plastic coating? Teflon, isn’t it?


        August 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm

  3. […] I was reminded to dig out this Ode to the Spellchecker (read here and then click ‘back to top) after reading a post at Peter Reynolds’ blog on A levels. […]

  4. I’d actually abolish the sixth form and most of the qualification jive afterwards. I would do this to bring education back. Amongst more interesting things, we need to invest in schooling when it matters, between 3 and 14 and look to a much wider base for education in what we do after this.


    August 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

  5. I’m one of the whingers, whiners and “when I were a lad…” general moaners when it comes to the ever increasing rise in A-grade achievements.

    This year, however, my annual rant has been tempered by the fact that my daughter has just got the AAB required to go to her chosen university to study psychology. I know how hard she has grafted to get those results, and the number of hours that she has had to put in to get to where she wanted to be, so I feel somewhat chastened.

    Part of the problem here is that becuase of the ever-rising grade percentages, the unis are having to raise their entry requirements in order to be able to weed out the wheat from the chav (err….chaff, sorry), and then there is pressure on the schools and examination boards to exceed last year’s university entrance figures – and so we go round again.

    Gawd only knows where it will end. The introduction of the seemingly pointless A* was an attempt to sub-divide the A-graders; so what comes next – the A**? The A***?

    Until someone gets a grip of this, and restores some sanity to the reason for a high university entrance rate (other than the obvious attempt to keep youth unemployment figures down….), and imposes stricter marking regimes on the examining bodies, I see no end to the merry-go-round. The trouble is – who will sort this out? No government will want the apparent sharp fall in educatinal standards to happen on their watch. To be honest Dave Snooty and his chums are probaly ideally placed to do this; they have the ideal excuse given the parlous state of the country’s finances to cut funding, reduce places, price it all out of the reach of good old fashioned Labour voting families, and restore the universities to their rather elitist status.

    Hey! I know… we could have lesser universities for common folk, that teach stuff like engineering…we could call them ‘Polytechnics’.

    I wonder why nobody has ever thought of it before?


    August 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    • Cobblers! I’ve just re-read that lot, and I could with that bloody spellchecker – PC or otherwise.


      August 19, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      • @ NobblySan,

        No spellchecker needed for you. Not at all. And you can even write grammatically correct sentences. Yes, this present crowd should sort it out. Here’s betting they won’t though.

        Blair the public school boy put money INTO the state system. Can you imagine CamClegg, two public school boys taking opportunity OUT!?


        August 20, 2010 at 12:44 am

    • I have a lot of sympathy with your point of view. My children have worked far, far harder at school than I ever did. I left after “O” levels and I did absolutely no work for them at all. It’s certainly a much tougher regime these days.

      It doesn’t change the fact though that to have 27% of candidates gaining A or A-star is no good to anybody – unless of course you’re in a socialist system where everybody comes first (or is that last?). I think that’s why we’re where we are. Idiotic socialists who can’t even implement their own ideas properly.

      This is another nettle that our cowardly politicians have failed to grasp.

      Let’s hope Dave and Nick can fix this “Balls” up. (To be fair it started long before him)

      Peter Reynolds

      August 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      • I agree, Peter; both my kids put more effort into their A-levels than I did, and took them far more seriously.

        Having said that, though; it wouldn’t take much to exceed the effort that I put into mine.

        I did two-thirds of the square root of bugger all work for my O-levels and came out with decent grades, but applying the same surefire technique to A-levels failed miserably. Too much time playing 3 card brag in the upper sixth common room was my undoing.


        August 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      • So it was gambling for you, eh?

        I’m, afraid, yes you guessed, it was drugs that took me away from my studies. Back in ’73 there was a particularly fine batch of Red Leb as I remember. There I was in the woods at the end of the lower games field, slouching about with my shoulder length hair in my RAF greatcoat. Ah, happy days!

        Peter Reynolds

        August 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      • Gambling and drugs!? WOW. I was such a goody-two-shoes in comparison to you guys.

        Only smoked when I was drinking, which was seldom. Couldn’t stand the hangovers. Still the same.

        What a bore, eh?


        August 20, 2010 at 4:12 pm

      • Yeah but John, what about the Big Macs? An example of rampant, venal, utterly self-centred indulgence that causes major damage to your digestive and cardiovascular systems. And five at once! I couldn’t manage five spliffs at once or five pipes or five lines! I bet Nobbly couldn’t manage five hands of brag at once. You’re hardcore John. You make the rest of us look like regular churchgoers who get rowdy on one sip of communion wine.

        That’s without even mentioning your hopeless, reprehensible addiction to Tone. Now that Hilary’s just called him up again I s’pose we’re going to be subject to more of your wide-eyed, jittery, all-night rantings interspersed with long periods of Big Mac bingeing while you recover for the next session.

        Oh my God. I don’t think I can take it any more…

        Peter Reynolds

        August 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

  6. Come on Peter,

    You can take it. I think you secretly enjoy it.

    Btw, sorry I’ve taken so bl**** long to send you that nuke. Despite the family always moaning that I’m tied to this keyboard I DO occasionally do other things. Anyway, I had to DIS all over the Liberal Conspirators at the last post, so had to shelve yours.

    Might get back to it tonight though, if I can possibly tear myself away from drooling over He who walks on water.


    August 20, 2010 at 11:54 pm

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