The Week

27th August 2010 at 01:00

The procession of happy, young pupils jumping for joy - literally, according to many newspapers - continued this week with the publication of GCSE results. Another record year of passes and top grades for which The TES offers its congratualtions. There were, of course, the inevitable "dumbing down" detractors, but they were forced to aim lower than ever this year. About three-feet high to be precise, with the news that five-year-old Dee Alli became the youngest child to get a grade C in maths. "I find maths very, very easy," she said.

If the stress of GCSE results was not bad enough, teenagers were warned that they might not even get a place in FE colleges. This was the supposed "domino effect" of all the A-level students unable to get into university who are now pondering options at further education institutions. The news story was based on comments by Dan Taubman, the UCU's FE policy officer, who warned that younger teenagers would be "squeezed out". But the FE colleges themselves were not convinced - chiefly because the places for the older students are funded separately. So the teenagers won't be scrapping over the same places, but they might face a longer queue in the canteen.

Uncomfortable news for the country's legion of league-table critics, with research showing that parents who choose schools based on results boost their children's performance. The implication, the Institute of Education academics said, was that it is not rational for a middle-class parent to pick a deprived school. So "children of pushy parents to do better" shock.

On a more light-hearted note, Gary Lineker, famed for never having picked up a yellow card in his football career, issued a caution of his own this week. His son, George, failed to get the grades he needed for university, leading Gary to accuse Charterhouse School of treating his boy as a Pre-U guinea pig. Who knew? An educational pundit as well as a footballing one. A note to those hoping to get into university, though: following young George's example of calling your school "massive knobbers" on Facebook may not be the best way to impress admissions officers.

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