A* award prompts both answers and anguish

27th August 2010 at 01:00

On the day the A-levels results were released and the annual post-mortem on educational "standards" began I came across this quote by the philospher Isaiah Berlin: "Systems are mere prisons of the spirit, and they lead not only to distortion in the sphere of knowledge, but to the erection of monstrous bureaucratic machines, built in accordance with the rules that ignore the teeming variety of the living world, the untidy and asymmetrical inner lives of men, and crush them into conformity for the sake of some ideological chimera unrelated to the union of spirit and flesh that constitutes the real world." Examinations may be a necessary evil, but an evil all the same.

Professor Colin Richards, Spark Bridge, Cumbria.

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