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Clever, but stuck

Governments have neglected the importance of high achievement in their focus on failing schools

By Alison Wolf   May 2011

Little Flower and Warden Park Secondary School, West Sussex

Listen to politicians or London-based journalists and you might conclude our school system is a write-off. Callaghan, Thatcher, Blair, Adonis, Cameron and Gove have all gone on the attack, usually pointing by way of evidence to yet another set of shabby test scores. Time and again, international studies rank our pupils well behind Korea, Japan or Finland. Clever? Us? Come off it.

But actually, and fortunately, we are. On any indicator—Nobel prizes or paper citations, to name two—our scientists remains among the world’s best. British journalism, writing and television are high-earning industries—take the Economist and the FT, Harry Potter, online…

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