The Tories used to love getting stuck into this debate, accusing the New Labour government of eroding exam standards. But it's noteworthy that, now they're in power, their rhetoric on the matter has become considerably less provocative. Speaking this morning about standards, David Willetts said:
"I really do hate that debate … Young people work incredibly hard … I think we should stop being down on young people and we should celebrate what they achieve."
"There’s no question that whether you take an A-level today, or whether you took it 28 years ago, it all requires a lot of work … Any student you talk to who’s sat their A-levels this summer will tell you that over two years they’ve had to work incredibly hard to achieve the grades that they’ve achieved today … To achieve an A* or a B or an E in the A-level requires a huge amount of hard work."