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Simon continued: “Examination boards seem to have used the A Level reforms, and thus the re-writing of each syllabus, to review the subjects being offered. History of Art, Classics and Archaeology are all under the axe. In all of these subjects the numbers of students have been getting fewer year on year and the number of qualified teachers in these specialist areas are also declining. This in turn means that there is smaller pool of potential examiners and markers for the papers. Simply put, the subjects are no longer seen to be viable in business terms.”
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Simon Mower, Principal of gave us an overview of the changes being made to GCSEs and A Levels: “Essentially, the structure of the A Level course will be reverting to the way it was a number of years ago. Instead of each of the two years being examined separately (i.e. exams at the end of Year 1 and exams at the end of Year 2), it will be a two-year course with just one set of examinations at the end.”
What do you think of this trend?
The world that produced John Kerry and George Bush is indeed giving us our next generation of leaders. The kid who’s loading up on AP courses junior year or editing three campus publications while double-majoring, the kid whom everyone wants at their college or law school but no one wants in their classroom, the kid who doesn’t have a minute to breathe, let alone think, will soon be running a corporation or an institution or a government. She will have many achievements but little experience, great success but no vision. The disadvantage of an elite education is that it’s given us the elite we have, and the elite we’re going to have.
Do you think that educated people are the most valuable for society?
In 2018, a century after World War One ended, many of those who fought for peace still have not received their due. Some 20,000 patriotic British men refused the draft, and mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell was among the vocal dissenters. He spent six months in jail for writing deemed subversive, later commenting that “this war is trivial, for all its vastness. No great principle is at stake, no great human purpose is involved on either side.” In our Spring 2011 issue, Adam Hochschild investigates the story behind the men “who argued for peace while the battles raged.”