Andrew Adonis, the schools minister, returned in June from a tour of the far east to declare, in a lecture, that Britain must strive to be an “80/20” society, in which at least 80 per cent of 16 year olds achieve five good A-C GCSE grades by 2020. At present, fewer than half of 16 year olds achieve such grades in GCSEs, including English and maths, but Adonis believes the improvement is possible, citing the achievements of countries such as Ireland, Finland and Singapore. The mechanisms for success listed in his lecture are familiar—more early-years’ investment, better pupil tracking, extended…
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