What a load of Canadian gibberish. I disagree with your comment "the GSCE is a great idea". If you had come to England before 1988 you would have been exposed to the O Level which was was far more rigorous than the GCSE and is still used today in countries such as India where academic standards have been maintained. I disagree with your emphasis on league tables as the source of the rot in British schools. The rot set in during the late 1960s when child centred theories of learning began to erode the traditional 'chalk and talk' approach to teaching children. It explains why even today in English primary schools the kids sit in circles chatting and squabbling rather than at individual desks as they had done before. I also feel you have missed the lack of aspiration which came to dominate the English working class by the 1980s where an 'underclass' of social and economic illiterates came to think of themselves as entitled to be 'paid' welfare checks and the ruling elite began to opt out of the state sector in favour of paying for health, education and even security thereby immunising themselves from the catastrophic decline in social, moral and educational mores. You rightly critique, however, the con trick of micro-managing schools to give the gullible English public the impression of rising standards through ever easier to pass exams.