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Archive for August 2011

Tory “yoof engagement” gimmicks through history: The National Record of Achievement

with 2 comments

Today’s school gimmick is tomorrow’s grunge album

Reading about the Cameron government’s big post-riot plans got me thinking about one of the crowning youth empowerment programmes of the last Conservative government…

Back in the early 1990s, everyone in my school year got handed a red leather (or possibly sham leather) folder with the words “National Record of Achievement” proudly embossed in the cover.

We were told that this was an incredibly important object that would serve us throughout our future careers as a repository for our many and varied “achievements”, and that the government had decided that every single pupil in the country should get one.

I think I may even have kept my GCSE certificates in it, at least for a while – but amazingly, the state-endorsed predictions about its future utility in my working life turned out not to be correct.

A brief straw poll on Twitter suggests that I may not have been alone in this, eg:

Gaipajama

Gaipajama Found mine in parents’ loft clearout t’other day, funnily enough. The plastic wallets inside had gone all manky.
Naomi Mc
NaomiMcPresume, like most people, my Mum has mine. But I did ghost-write a HILARIOUS intro to it which my form tutor signed.
Jen
JennNiffUrgh, I just remember they smelled really bad. Mine certainly didn’t have a lot of achievement in.. I guess I failed at life.
Rhian Drinkwater
rhian82 Aaaah, we were told they were so important. Everything had to be typed by school, not us, and they filled mine with mistakes.
A.E.D

___insomniac___

I think i still have mine collecting dust somewhere.
Julia
morphosaurusYes, both my husband and I still have ours! A mildly less useful means of storing certificates than an A4 envelope.
Will Why
Skeptobot Still got it. Had to cross country to get it when I had to prove I had a GCSE in maths (despite having a PHD in Astrophysics)
Jim Smith
thejimsmith I refused to bother with mine, much to my teachers’ annoyance. I still have the empty folder.
Joe
RespectMyCrest we were told in yr9 and yr11 they were really important. No one in the real world ever asked to see it
alixmortimer
alixmortimer Lavishly tooled in red plasticky fake leather. Think that was when the “prizes for all” thing really started, not Labour.
Joe
RespectMyCrest chucked mine out a few years ago

Looking at the latest Tory government’s hastily-unveiled plans for fixing “broken Britain” it’s difficult not to wonder how many of today’s initiatives (not least the flagship voluntary, non-military nearly-but-not-quite National Service) will fare any better…

Written by Richard Wilson

August 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm