The 27th annual climb in A level grades were announced yesterday to great fanfares of cynicism and howls of “dumbing down”. Thousands of Birmingham youngsters share in the bumper year’s results but they are discovering that A levels are a debased currency when it comes to a university place.
Up to 6 students are chasing every place available through the clearing system as the best cohort in history fight for entry to a degree course. By mid morning yesterday the elite universities had already announced they were full.
Today’s headlines have got me thinking about whether Birmingham has the qualifications to retain its students after they have graduated from our universities and colleges?
A cynic (who me?) could say Broad Street is now a cultural and literal wasteland. The once über cool Arcadian Centre has lost its shine. Pubs and Clubs are being closed in Digbeth because of noise bleed and poor planning policy. The dire lack of support for independent retail has resulted in a homogenous shopping experience in the city centre.
Can Birmingham ever compete against London in the graduate retention stakes?
The more I think about it the more I like the idea of a Greater Birmingham. I doubt this will ever happen but when I consider how we gain maximum leverage from our local assets I can only see benefit from the region having a shared and thus louder voice with its combined assets and a coherent communications strategy with synergistic objectives. The surrounding towns and boroughs will not lose their identity or charm any more than Chelsea or Wimbledon did during the creation of Greater London in the ‘60s.