More photos from Visit Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight, the largest island in England, what a beautiful place to live.

Photos courtesy of Visit Isle of Wight.


This is Appley Tower, towards the eastern end of the long sandy beach at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.  (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)

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Fisherman’s cottage on the beach at the bottom of Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)


The duver at St Helens, Isle of Wight. A duver is an Isle of Wight dialect term for a large sand dune and there are several duvers around the Island. (View on the Visit Isle of Wight Facebook page)




Dumbing down education?

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More thoughts, submitted on an occasional basis by our Guest Blogger:  Jack Diamond.

Dumbing down education?

Over the years there’s been a lot of comment in the newspapers about the standard of education here in the UK. It’s probably true that most of what is written washes over your head or you think it’s all exaggerated by the newspapers and media. But then, if you start to look into it, you begin to wonder if all those people who talk about education being ‘dumbed down’ in recent years might actually be right.

Recently we had reason to look at a GCSE maths paper. These are all available to download online and the ones we tried were from AQA.

Have a look at a sample of the questions from last year’s (November 2014) maths paper and decide for yourself if maybe, just maybe, we ought to be trying to stretch the minds of our school children a little bit further. Remember, these are from a GCSE paper which is aimed at 16 year olds.

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There is a maximum score of 66 marks for the paper, but you only need to get 75% correct to get a C grade.

With the greatest respect to anyone taking these tests, you’d have to be having a really bad day not to get a C grade from this paper.

The examples above are from what’s called the Foundation Tier exam – the maximum grade, even if you answer all the questions correctly, is a C grade. If you’re a real high flyer, apparently, you get entered for the Higher Tier exam instead. Here’s some examples of the more difficult questions in the Higher Tier.

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If you’re like me you’d wonder if they might be trick questions. I mean, they give you the answers in the question – 33 men said yes, they own a car. Question: How many men said they own a car?

‘Show that 24 people were in the museum at 8 am.’ Well, I guess that would be 30 – 6.

And, remember, this is the Higher Tier, supposed to be for the brighter 16 year olds.

Dumbing down education? It looks like they might be right.

Or maybe it’s that, in recent years, there’s a expectation everyone should be able to get a qualification, even if that qualification is meaningless. The same happened with university degrees. At one time they were a sign of a certain level of intelligence or attainment but these days, when it’s expected that just about anyone can and should go to university, the whole concept of a degree gets devalued.

Or, maybe it’s just me and we should accept that 65p x4 or 30-6 are tricky sums for a 16 year old these days?


Thanks for reading.

Jack Diamond

(The views expressed in our Guest Blogs are personal opinions only and do not reflect the views of PCGraphics.)




A Quick Tour Around…

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In the past we’ve shown what we called a ‘Map of the Day,’ which featured a single map of one location from around the world, and published it on our Facebook page. But we’ve done it differently here.

Instead of one map, we’ve taken several maps and put them all onto this page on our blog.

Today it’s Egypt that we’re taking a quick tour around. Hope you enjoy your visit!

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Above, a general view of Egypt, showing the major cities and placing it in context amongst it’s neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Libya.

Egypt has more than 88 million inhabitants with the vast majority living in or around the Nile Valley.

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Next we have central Cairo. Cairo is currently the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Middle East. We say ‘currently’ because plans have been announced to build a new capital city to the east of Cairo – read more details here on Wikipedia.

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(You can click on any of these maps to view larger versions)

No visit to Egypt would be complete without a tour around the pyramids and tombs. Above we have, on the left, a plan of the pyramids of Giza. The map in the centre shows Saqqara (alternatively Sakkara or Saccara, depending on your preference), this being the vast necropolis for the ancient city of Memphis. On the right, a plan of Luxor which includes the site of Tutankhamun’s tomb and Howard Carter’s House.

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Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great around 331 BC. As well as being a tourist destination today, it is also a major seaport with 80% of Egypt’s imports and exports passing through it.

For more information on our maps, how we draw them and many hundreds of samples of our work, click on any of the social media and website links below.