The Department of Education or is that the Department of Schools, - education being viewed as a form of elitism - constantly tells us that examination standards are improving. When I left school in the dark ages of 1974, 'A' Level passes at grade 'A' were almost remarkable and I recall, how much I struggled with English Literature essays.
So, this morning, I'm surprised to see one newspaper story which tells us that research from Exeter University has discovered the 'bleedin obvious' that if 'kids don't speak and spell proper', then their prospects suffer, both in their examinations and in trying to find a job after leaving school. Apparently, thanks to the relaxed standards regime of the last decade or so, many children are writing down their words as they would speak them and it's far from any collective idea of standard or 'received' English.
Here are some examples giving concern to the examiners:
English literature A-level
"It's like, yea, Cleo is a player" – referring to Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra
"He's always spouting off" – referring to Orsino from Twelfth Night
"So anyway, Viola's had it with Olivia and is fuming with her." question on Twelfth Night
"Hamlet is a laid back mummy's boy who needs to move on."
"Heani referz 2 poetri as wen humn xperiens cumz 2 life" – an essay on Seamus Heaney's poem Digging
"I was well bored."
Now, I can't imagine for one moment, even being entered for an 'A' Level English examination if my vocabulary was as limited as the examples above. It's not a matter of elitism, it's one of expression and opportunity and suggests that the system is letting children down very badly indeed. After all, even the workhouse schools of the 19th century, would expect children to be able to recite their multiplication tables and have a basic command of the structure of the English Language, both written and spoken.
Finally, having watched the BBC series Torchwood, for the first time on Friday, has anyone noticed a dramatic, political or indeed social engineering connection between, Torchwood, Dr Who and East Enders? There's enough content there I believe, for a university thesis on how the BBC appears to be following a particular agenda in shaping our view of contemporary society.