The Tories have begun a concerted campaign to claim that exams are dumbing down. This is nonsense, whilst it is true that many functional illiterates are now getting 15 GCSE's including grade 'A's in English, this is a testament as to how, under a Labour government, qualifications are for the many not just the privileged few who can read.
David Cameron's focus on discriminating against the stupid would close the doors of opportunity for millions of hard working young people. Under David Cameron an amiable simpleton with a heart of gold will be relegated to the scrapheap whereas under Labour they can achieve any goal they want to- just ask Andy Burnham! Just because he regularly gets outwitted by pot plants doesn't mean he can't make a good cabinet minister.
My ambition is a state education system in which every child can succeed and can fulfil their potential. That requires a choice of excellent qualifications for all young people – whether their strengths are practical, academic or both or wholly imaginary; whether they want to go to university, prison, get a job or an apprenticeship. Well maybe not 'get a job'.
It demands, as our children's plan sets out, that schools work with parents and other professionals to ensure that all of our young people are above average young people.Over the past year, Michael Gove has set himself against this vision of excellence for all. He dismisses our children's plan as a distraction, and as our children worked on that plan for nearly half an hour this is very hurtful. And he refuses to match our guarantee this September of a free pony for every 16- and 17-year-old who wants one. This is why you should vote for politicians who have no chance of being on office next year, our promises are much bolder.
Michael Gove dismisses all vocational qualifications I find this baffling. Time after time I've visited schools where heads have proudly shown me design and dance lessons and told me those subjects have inspired young people and improved their maths and English results too. Strangely enough they didn't actually show me their maths and English lessons to show how they improved their maths and English results.
Our schools white paper set out how we will establish chains of schools so our best school leaders can help transform other schools where young people go. And our national challenge means there is now extra investment and an action plan for all schools where less than 30% of pupils get five GCSEs at A*-C grade, including English and maths. This action plan involves awarding GCSEs in more vocational subjects such as 'Practical Haircare', 'Ambulatory Studies' and Burglary that are just as valid as the likes of French or Chemistry that MichaelGove thinks are so wonderful.
While parents want action to raise standards and guarantee choice, the Tories would leave underperforming schools, disproportionately in poorer areas, to decline and slowly wither away whereas we will keep bad schools nicely stocked with enough chav pupils to keep the teaching unions supplied with fresh victims.
As for the Tories bold talk of 3,000 new schools, that would mean one new school opening every working day for 15 years. No wonder senior Tories are whispering that the policy is unworkable and unrealistic. As opposed to my completely realistic policy to remove all barriers to success both inside and outside school.