We have the highest exam results in history, we're doing absolutely fine, brilliant even, according to Mr. Brown and his psychophants.
I soon learned, don't ever trust the government's figures. Check the international results and you will soon notice that we've fallen way down the league over the years whilst Labour were in power in Mathematics. The international results paint quite a different picture.
It's all to do with the lefty goal's of it's not fair to upset the kids by having them fail exams.
With such an ideal there are only two possible strategies:
1) Make the kids work harder, improve the teaching so the kids get better results
2) Dumb down the exams, make them easier so that more pass.
Evidentally, the Labour government chose the latter. Not that they will ever admit that. If you're lucky, it might revealed in a declassified document in 50 years time, but given Tony Blair's sofa style politics where the recording of notes of meetings was quite intentionally reduced so as to avoid leaving an audit trail of dodgy goings-on, such evidence probably won't surface unless it's in the form of someone's memoirs.
The move to coursework based exams was a big mistake. We debated this in school approximately 5 years before the government introduced GCSEs, and in class, even we children realised that coursework based exams would be easier. We were kids, and even we knew it! The people, the adults in government must have known too.
Sure, we went through the pros and cons questioning whether exams were really fair, to those people that didn't have such good memories, but we knew course work based courses would be easier.
And in later years, I undertook my first coursework based course..ahem..which happened to be in computer science...fun..but easy. We had exams too for it, but achieving nearly 30% of the final examination mark by doing the coursework throughout the year was easy.
I accept the argument that some people struggle with memory (well, repetition usually helps, and knowing the subject matter does too!), but by making courses predominantly coursework based has made them easier for everyone, and the whole of society will/has suffered just to appease a few kids that struggled with memory based exams.
When it comes to difficult subjects such as maths, physics, engineering the UK is a joke. Celebrities joke how they can't do maths, as if they're proud of it. In France they celebrate their mathematicians. Even straight names which are named after people include their profession on the sign! It's unreal. But what an attitude they have compared to us in the UK.
(Can you imagine a 3D representation of a 4D hypercube being constructed in London? Or would you find a 2D barcode painted on the wall of someone's house? Just wouldn't happen in this country would it? But they're there in Paris.)
With this national attitude towards these subjects this country has had it, we're bound to fall behind countries such as Germany, France, India.