I'd say that 30 years ago the classrooms weren't bloody multilingual and bending over backwards to provide the minorities with a chance to achieve an equal education by lowering the indiginous peoples standards to accommodate them.
Totally agree with jon though on the unmotivated work ethics too, I did pass my exams and go on to grammar school,the best in the area, cut a long story short but I ended up a bad boy, kicked out of that school and had to go to an ordinary comprehensive...if you wanted to put the work in, you could have got on just as well there as the grammar. Now the kids starting in our work that come from either school are thick as sh1t, and haven't an ounce of common sense between them,lol, there's no way we could have left school as stupid as that. I dread to see what it's like by the time my son is leaving school especially as this is the last year of the 11+ exams used in selection to see if the child is bright enough for the grammar. Suppose it's only going to decline but time will tell.