I had thought it was R A Butler, among other things one of our greatest ministers of education, who coined the phrase "democracy is government by discussion" but a quick glance at Wikipedia says it was Sir Ernest Barker. Maybe Butler just publicised it.
Whatever the source, the present Secretary of State for Education,(an example of title inflation?) Michael Gove, seems more interested in dictating educational policy rather than discussing it with those who know what they're talking about. His ridiculous prescription for he primary school curriculum is the subject of a previous post. Now, in addition to his covert reintroduction of selection at 11+ via a melange of so-called "free" schools and "academies," he wishes a further sorting of our children into sheep and goats by re-introducing what he fondly believes is a more rigorous "O" level style examination at 16+ for the academic elite.
I've never been much involved in 16+ teaching and examining, and when I have I've avoided course work options as far as I could. I also prefer examination questions which require reasoned coherent answers rather than the ticking of boxes. I'm quite sure that those involved, and particularly those who do the actual teaching, are perfectly capable of producing a range of examinations to suite various talents and abilities under the same umbrella and without a major overhaul of the system to take us back to what Mr Gove sees as a golden past.
The irony is that education specialists increasingly question the need for any national external examinations at all at 16+. Now that most young people are required, one way or another, to remain in education or training until hey are at least 18, abandoning national 16+ assessments would free up schools to concentrate on the excitement and fun of both learning and teaching rather than obsessing with grades and league tables.