The Government must halt the “social engineering” which is designed to push more working-class students into higher education, according to Peter Morris of the Professional Association of Teachers.
He was telling the PAT’s annual conference in Harrogate that the middle classes are the Government’s “whipping boys” as academic standards decline.
Mr Morris was proposing a motion demanding that ministers “stop interfering in educational life chances for our young people with attempts at social engineering”.
He told delegates: “I am angry because this Government has interfered with my children and their children’s chances of getting a good education.
“They have changed the ways that examinations are assessed, and clearly this has had a “dumbing down” effect on the academic standards, in order to get more pupils to achieve.”
Exams have gone from being academically rigorous to posing “woolly, touchy-feely” questions with very little intellectual merit.
“But the ultimate social engineering by this Government is the change which they have introduced in selection procedures for higher education,” he said.
Teenagers applying for university will be asked whether their parents have degrees. Tutors and ministers are trying to attract more students from poor backgrounds into higher education.