They said ..

9th November 2007 at 00:00
There is a 'crisis in basic standards and behaviour in schools' - The Conservative Party.We say ...

The Tories repeatedly claimed in press statements this week that there was a "crisis" in education, perhaps hoping newspapers would accept it as fact. But what evidence is there that standards have reached such a catastrophic state?

The report from Keele University's Centre for Successful Schools suggests classroom behaviour has changed little since 1993, when the Conservatives were in power (see opposite page).

The proportion saying their lessons are disrupted by other pupils has remained the same, while the numbers saying they have been bullied has gone down slightly.

The Conservatives justify their criticism of academic standards by referring to this year's key stage 2 test results.

But has the proportion of children meeting the target standards - which the Tories confuse with basic standards - got worse?

Er, no. This year 80 per cent met them in English and 77 per cent in maths, up dramatically from 1995 when only 49 and 45 per cent did so. If schools are in crisis now, they must have been in some kind of a super-crisis before.

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