Hey! That sounds exactly like what happened to me. How weird is that.
Oh God I used to dread my "holidays" down at my parents place, fixing up all the problems with Windows (starting at 3.11 and ending at 2000). Then I installed RedHat with a "Redmond" theme and...no phone calls, no teeth gnashing, no drama, no tears...heaven! Since then, only a few minor niggles when the ISP changes. And an change a few years later to Ubuntu when RedHat went all Gates on me. Oh, and one major niggle when a local IT "guru" reformatted the drive for my mum and reinstalled windows because "you can only access the internet with windows".
He has since been run over by a truck. How is that for karma?
P.S. I do not have a truck licence.
I taught in comprehensive, selective and private secondary schools in the UK, and have done in the equivalents here in Australia.
Erosion of standards in Maths/Science has been steady and dramatic for at least the time I have been teaching (20 years). I am not an English teacher but from the way that the students react to my vocabulary ("You talk funny and like use big words and stuff!"), and from their universal and complete lack of spelling and grammar competence; I assume it is the same in that faculty.
I wish I could advocate an easy fix, but the kids do not value what we are trying to teach them and neither do their parents. You can make it as dumb as you want, but if students cannot see any merit in the process or the result...they just get angrier. As Heinlein (and/or Mark Twain) wrote, "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig!"
As for OFSTED (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/), don't get me started! Julia Gillard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Gillard) wants it here in Oz as well - God help us. That's the lunacy of WACOT (http://www.wacot.wa.edu.au/)...on steroids.
The disks are getting full; purge a file today.