IF things aren’t going too well or if they’re just in need of a bit of zhooshing up, never fear — you don’t actually need to do anything to fix them, you can just use the modern magical trick of rebranding.
Look at this year’s GCSE students. Ever since O-levels and A-levels were introduced 66 years ago, successive governments have tampered and pithered, ditching GCEs and CSEs for GCSEs, upping coursework, reducing coursework, contemplating the Baccalauréat and generally giving the whole nation a headache.
This year, the poor teenagers are having to endure a new grading system, described by Royal Wootton Bassett Academy headteacher George Croxford as “barking mad”. Quite right, Mr Croxford.
This means they will receive a set of qualifications, some of which will be graded by letters and some by the new numbers.
No longer will you be able to say, ‘I got seven As, two Bs and a C’. instead you’ll have to say, ‘I’ve got four As, two 1s, a C and a 3’. And who on earth will know what that even means? It’s beginning to sound more like an order for a Chinese takeaway than a set of academic qualifications.
I know the Department for Education are probably feeling a little left out, what with the General Election and the small matter of Brexit overshadowing them, but really — is such misguided attention-grabbing really necessary?
Of course, rebranding has gone viral in all walks of life.
Only a few weeks ago, the nation got its knickers in a twist over the National Trust’s Cadbury Egg Hunt, which had dropped the word Easter from its title.
And closer to home, the world of journalism isn’t averse to a little shake-up. When I started at the Adver, I was a sub-editor; now I’m a content manager. The job is the same.
Our professional exams went from being the ‘prof’ (proficiency exam) to the NCE (National Certificate Exam) and now it’s an NQJ (National Qualification for Journalists). The exam is the same.
Air hostesses became air stewards became flight attendants — they still serve your drinks and tell you to fasten your seatbelts.
Of course, some rebrands have been essential. Keeping up to date or presenting a fresh face is key to keeping a business thriving. Check out the Pepsi logos —who even noticed they’d changed so much in the past 20 years alone? Although the drink is the same.
Of course, when it comes to language, regular upgrades are just as important. Terms which were once acceptable are now considered offensive and new ones substituted in their place. People these days are disabled, not handicapped, for instance.
Although, there are barking mad examples to be had here too. An online search for politically correct terms is always good for a giggle.
One particular website had the following suggestions: bald becomes comb-free; an immigrant becomes a newcomer; and rather alarmingly, an abortion becomes a near-life experience.
But unlike successful rebrands, such as Pepsi’s, or essential ones like the terms we use for people with disabilities, the change for change’s sake which blights too many government departments is at best a waste of time and at worst a smoke screen.
There are numerous problems facing our education system. Here are just a few: 1. Teachers are over-worked and under-paid and many are abandoning the profession; 2. Our schools are suffering from enormous under-funding; 3. The cost of higher education is landing young people with debts that used to be big enough to buy a mansion.
So, call me crazy, if the Department of Education stopped buggering about with the grading of GCSEs, perhaps they’d have time to deal with the real issues.
Now that’s what I call an A1 idea. Might pour myself a glass of grape juice (formerly known as wine) to celebrate.
The cost of remembering
A CAMPAIGN has been launched urging the public to donate money to erect a memorial honouring all the police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will be inscribed with the names of more than 1,400 officers and staff.
While £2.5m has already been raised, a total of £4m is needed.
I agree that it is right to remember those who bravely gave themselves in the name of law and order and there’s no doubt a memorial would indeed be a place for contemplation and remembrance.
But surely it could be done at a lesser cost? After all, if we’re going to have a whip round, wouldn’t it be more useful to distribute the proceeds among our police forces that are so woefully strapped for cash so they can more easily fight crime and make Britain a safer place for all of us?
Just leave him out to rot
THE suggestion that Moors murderer Ian Brady wanted his ashes scattered on Saddleworth Moor with his victims is beyond repugnant.
And even more so as poor little Keith Bennett, who met his untimely end aged 12 in 1964, remains on those Moors. And now with Brady’s death, he will presumably never be found.
I agree with Terry West, the brother of another victim, Lesley Ann Downey, who said: “He had no right to breathe the same air as those decent and dignified relatives whom he tortured for decades by refusing to assist in the search for their loved ones.
“He now takes his place in hell and he can rot there. As far as I am concerned, Ashworth Hospital can leave him out for the bin men.”