Thursday, 28 September 2006


Excellent news - the abolition of maths coursework for GCSE and the supervision of all other coursework. This will, after a short drop in grade standards, lead to the improvement of our nation's mathematical skills. Coursework has for many years been the means by which people who are crap at maths, like me, get grades they do not deserve, like me, and thereby think they are better at maths than they are, like me. I did mine some years ago now and, by dint of pure time (not thought) and some nice presentation, as well as some judicious conversations with friends better at maths than me, came up with a near maximum mark. This propelled me to an A I did not deserve, being rubbish at the actual process of calculation.

A small change like this could lead to a real rise in standards. But when are the government going to improve our appalling take up of the sciences in schools? Introducing a "Friends of the Earth Propaganda for GCSE" isn't going to win us any Nobel prizes or lead to any great discoveries, unless everything is completely mad already. There are hardly any physics teachers, university chemistry departments are closing down, and many students already don't cover the three sciences. Blithering on about the unsustainability of the conservative dominant scientific paradigm isn't going to cut the mustard. We need more real science, and fast, before Britain's scientific community actually starts to forget stuff. That means - experiments, formulae, and maths. Well, one out of three isn't bad.

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