Anorak News | Exam Board

Exam Board

by | 18th, August 2005

‘“A B ISN’T bad considering I forgot to take the exam,” says the boy to his friend in a cartoon on the Times’s front cover.

‘You’ve passed. It says you ARE blonde and can get a good job in PR’

In case you’ve not been following the week’s news, today is the day when all but 3.8 per cent of more than 265,000 students who took the “gold standard” exam discover that they’ve passed thier A-levels.

The only surprise awaiting the callow yoofs looking at their list of A grades for Surfing and Celebrity Studies, with modules in Katona, Reality TV and Soap Shags, is that less than the expected 97 per cent made the pass grade.

The pass rate of 96.2 per cent means that this year’s batch of students is just 0.2 of a per cent smarter/luckier/better educated than last year’s batch, which included Prince Harry.

Though not as high as was expected, it’s still the 23rd successive year in which the pass rate has improved, and a record number of students have secured places at their preferred universities.

While this is great news for them – and even better news for the Government, which can start working out how many lots of £3,000-a-year university tuition fees it will reap – not everyone has succeeded.

As the Times reports, amazing at it seems, even in this brainy climate only 14 out of 30 pupils in an average English primary school class are likely to take A levels. And of them, only one will achieve three A grades.

What kind of future lies ahead for these education drop-outs can perhaps best be illustrated by the Telegraph’s tale of one Neil Taylor, chief executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital’s NHS Trust.

Shrewsbury magistrates’ court has just learnt that Taylor landed his £115,000-a-year job by faking his CV. Rather than having a first-class degree from Nottingham University, as his CV stated, he had only “one or two A levels”.

His lie unravelled when the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital merged with the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Mr Taylor became the “unanimous choice” to take the chief executive’s post.

This led to a salary review and Taylor being challenged to produce documents proving his education background. He could not do so.

So he was taken to court, where he has admitted to one charge of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and another of attempting to commit the same offence.

But while Taylor awaits his fate, perhaps the crux of the matter is that too much value is put on qualifications – Taylor was not found out because he could not do his job but because he did it too well.

Which makes us wonder how useful qualifications are. Indeed, part of Taylor’s defence was that he couldn’t lay his hands on his certificates because they were on his parents’ wall.

Which might just be the best place for such things – a kind of embossed wallpaper for the middle classes…’

Posted: 18th, August 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink