Fox chased into a corner over virtues of failure

26th October 2012 at 01:00

I believe Claire Fox ("The intellectual virtues of failing your exams", 19 October) set us all a challenge when she wrote: "There is nothing more condescending than refusing to make distinctions between second-rate and excellent."

While I do not claim this to be excellent, I certainly see her article as second-rate. To attempt to construct a telling argument based on flimsy ideas and opinions, on preconceived and shallow judgements and on hollow appeals to the greater good was less than convincing. I have rarely seen a piece in TES so befuddled and desperate to make a point at any costs. There was a thinly veiled attack on the weak and wilful in education who continue to let the nation down. Her "antidote to such a technocratic approach to knowledge" appears to be tougher exams because they are good for you, especially if you fail them. Perhaps Ms Fox has never failed an exam; perhaps she has superb resilience; or she may have the hide of a rhino.

She appears to know nothing of young people or the people who work in schools. To paint a picture of teachers as relativists, creatures of an anodyne world where no differentiation occurs, no judgements are made and where the act of grading pupils is anathema to them is simply to believe all you're told in certain newspapers. Come on, Ms Fox, don't let your prejudice blind you to what's wrong in the exam system. Don't lay the blame at the door of schools and teachers; that simply lacks rigour.

B.T. Wratten, Churchill Academy, North Somerset.

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