(Original post by ChemistBoy)
Thanks for that, sadly it just isn't true. You can label people as thick if they don't meet your standards, but it doesn't change the fact that for many people obtaining a C is an achievement of effort and I think that shows that our education system is failing these people by not providing them with an education that is right for them rather than them failing themselves. I know a lot of people who've only got C's or so and left school at 16, the technicians at work spring to mind - they aren't stupid and they do difficult jobs that require skill and I would be lost without then in my job as a researcher.
Getting a C doesn't mean you're stupid though, nobody's saying that. However, GCSEs really are the minimum you need to get, the basic "collect $200 when you pass Go" to continue into the wider world. It doesn't take a genius to work out the education system in the UK. Perhaps if the government were to lower the school leaving age to fourteen with, oh, I don't know, preGCSEs... yeah, I can see you laughing and shaking your head already.
GCSEs are the lowest common academic denominator, and getting a C isn't hard, if you're not great at academia it requires a bit of effort and determination (but pah, when is effort and delayed success ever rewarded?). You might argue "it's too academic for them". Pretty much the bare minimum required for any job these days are English, Maths, and possibly a science and foreign language at GCSE. That's 2 mandatory GCSEs. If you find them hard, you might struggle in a proper job. Pupils who find GCSEs too academically rigorous can always do more vocational GCSEs like Art, Photography etc. I personally found vocational stuff easier - I did Art & Design - and I'm sure pupils not geared towards the academic rigour will find them more interesting.
The GCSE system fails when it cannot differentiate between pupils who try really hard and are proud of their Cs, and those who don't bother and get Cs. The only way to measure that difference is to encourage more vocational GCSEs.
That said: I don't believe that, of the 50% or so of those who are
failing to get 5 Cs at GCSEs, all of them would struggle. Some aren't motivated enough, some are forced into not giving a damn because of peer pressure... pupils of today live for the moment, they've never heard of delayed success. They want to live the Pop Idol dream and get rich quick without having to try hard - and that's part of the charm of academic qualifications, I find; they're not
easy, and prove that you're ambitious and hard-working.
I also happen to believe in the "nothing in life worth having is easy to get" mantra, but then again I set quite high goals for myself.