It started with the National Curriculum - which seemed a good idea at the time as it meant that schools taught the same things. Except ...
There were levels. And what can you do with levels? You can measure them and turn them into statistics. Then you can compare kids against each other - sorry, I mean schools, and produce league tables.
And you can do the same with GCSEs and A-levels. Education has turned into a numbers game, forget the children.
Ah, but someone pointed that out, so now its value added. Which can be measured and turned into statistics ... etc. And you have to progress each and every year (or term) more and more, or you've failed.
So schools need to ensure that children will pass exams with better and better results. So what do they do? They choose exams which their children will pass with better and better results. And because they want their exams to be bought by schools, exam boards produce exams that kids will pass with better and better results.
There's only one way you can do that and that's to drop your standards. I've just seen a practice exam paper for AQA Higher Tier it's here. This is sort of thing that I would have expected my Year 9s to be able to do and not that long ago either. You have to question the quality of qualifications.
And the government's policy is more and more 'healthy' competition. The children are just pawns.
It's a joke. And a sick joke at that.