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The self-esteem movement lives on in a flurry of awards

Fifteen-hundred certificates for just 250 pupils – one school finds a sure-fire way of obliterating pupils’ actual achievements

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I heard of a recent end-of-term school award ceremony, during which an incredible 1,500 certificates were handed out to the school’s 250 S1s. These were for a wide variety of achievements, from progress in literacy to coming third in the long jump. Every child a winner.

As a never-ending chain of pupils took to the stage, the proud parents in the audience sat continuously clapping in the sweltering assembly hall for almost an hour, the youngsters’ actual achievements blurred by the sheer volume of success.

What the school was staging represented the last gasp of the self-esteem movement, a ...

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