Two government failures you probably missed this week

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Friday 26 August 2016 11:00
news

Just as Theresa May returned from her holiday in the Swiss Alps, there were two pieces of bad news for the new prime minister - not that most people would probably have noticed.

Immigration

New figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that net immigration (one of the most important issues for the British public) in the year to March stood at 327,000 - a near record high.

The last Conservative government repeatedly promised to reduce this figure to the tens of thousands (even though the policy was allegedly born by mistake) - a figure that Theresa May has pledged to keep to.

Education

GCSE results released on Thursday showed that grades had fallen by their biggest margin since the exam replaced the O-level a quarter of a century ago.

While some of this downturn was due to the new policy of making 17-year-olds with Ds or lower retake exams, there was still a significant drop of 1.3 per cent in A*-C grades for Year 11 pupils.

As the Independent reports, teaching groups have blamed the government's recent education reforms, which place an emphasis on maths, English and science over creative subjects and modern foreign languages (MFL).

What have Labour said?

With Labour embroiled in a civil war, leader Jeremy Corbyn being caught up in the #traingate furore and his rival touring the country and inexplicably making a balls up of everything, some have bemoaned the lack of criticism the Opposition has offered up over the two big news stories of the week.

While shadow education secretary Angela Rayner MP did release a statement condemning the "constant chopping and changing to assessment" and calling on May to "sort out this department", others felt that more needed to be done.

Jacqui Smith, the former home secretary and minister for schools, took to Twitter to point out the lack of clear Labour messaging the party has offered, suggesting the Conservatives have "got it easy".

More: Here's what Jeremy Corbyn has to say about Theresa May's new Tory cabinet

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