Why on earth is the schools minister Vernon Coaker arguing about accreditation for the International GCSE (on the World at One today) on a day when we should be celebrating the achievements of young people, and the record of the Labour government in improving secondary education? Is it any wonder that people don't recognise Labour's improvements when ministers spend their time being sidetracked into pointless debates?
It is a silly debate, yet officialdom in both DCSF and the QCDA are fervent in their refusal to recognise the IGCSE, just as they are disdainful of the International Baccalaureate, from which Ed Balls shamefully cut funding. But both qualifications could offer real competition to other exams, helping maintain standards, and the official arguments against their recognition are pretty weak.
It must be said that the Tories are taking a more discreditable stance in their attempt to do down the achievements of those following vocational routes. But ministers are failing to focus on the real dividing lines between the parties by defending the indefensible. If schools want to offer the IB or IGCSE, they should let them do so. And credit their achievements in league tables - as well as those pursuing vocational routes.