The level is higher

22nd August 2003 at 01:00
It comes as no surprise to note so many attempts to disparage the efforts of young people taking their A-levels this year, but it is always disappointing. The process has been going on for more than a decade.

Having taken A-levels in 1958 and gained admission to Oxford on the equivalent of two grade Bs, I taught for 18 years, served as an HMI for another 18 years, and am now a councillor and cabinet member for education for the London borough of Greenwich.

At about the same time, research found half of the most intelligent young people in the country left school at 15. I have no doubt these are the kind of students who account for the improvement in A-level results.

Students today are cleverer, better taught and harder working than most of my contemporaries and I were, and also were most of the people I taught. It is not easy to admit this, and the apoplexy in the press shows how difficult it is for the middle-aged and elderly to acknowledge.

David Grant

74 Royal Hill

Greenwich

London SE10

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