"While there has been real progress over the last 10 years, we need to continue to push for year-on-year improvement because it is vital that all children gain a thorough understanding of the basics.
That is why we are doing much more to support early reading, writing and maths."
I think the issue is that politicians keep fucking about with things they know nothing about. How about letting the teachers teach? Also, the inability of people to realise that kids have different abilities, and no amount of socialist claptrap will render them equal. Indeed, chances are it will hold everyone back.
When you then consider that GCSE passes have increased - perhaps due to the bar being set lower each year? Science, in particular, has been in the news a lot recently...
"It is not a lowering of the bar, rather a raising of the bar since candidates have to engage with and positively respond to more questions than previously."
Responding to questions that don't actually ask them anything meaningful. A science question does not actually test anyone if set so absurdly easy that all the pupils pass. Science is supposed to be hard. It's also supposed to be rewarding and interesting. The exams are supposed to be a benchmark for how much (useful?) stuff you have learned - and as such should not be too easy.
Cambridge University would like to see tougher A levels, since it might actually give them some idea how well their applicants did at school!
In an attempt to make everyone have a pass at GCSE level or whatever, all that is happening is the exam is being reduced to something utterly worthless. You might as well hand the exam passes out to wipe your arse with.
Interestingly enough, I've not seen much about the standards in Scotland being lowered. (Other than the social engineering of University admissions reported last year). I don't imagine that's because it's not the case - I expect our politicians to meddle and make the same mess...