Why The UK Education System Is Flawed
And why it’ll never change as long as the Conservative party is in office.
A lot of people see no issue with the UK education system. However there are many issues, all of which can't be fit into one essay. I can write about a few standout ones though, and also display my anger at this system as a student myself.
I am a year ten girl, based in the fourteen to fifteen age group. Next year I will be sitting most of my GCSEs, par one I am taking this year. Around six months until I take that exam. It will be English Literature, one of my favourite subjects, that is now starting to fall in ranking. You may ask why, but that will all be covered in a later point.
One of the biggest flaws of this educational system is the impact it has on pupils mental health. Taking final exams for all of your lessons in a three to four week time period is extremely daunting and stressful to anyone. Cramming five (or even twelve, including primary school subjects) years of learning into a few exams is keeping children awake all night revising, leaving them with no energy in their exam and no power to retain any information. Virtually your whole future rides on these exams, which is what creates all of this stress. Three to four weeks of long-term memory tests creates your future.
When in years seven to ten, all the stress is played down. Teachers tell you to stay calm because you have so much time, so you don't really bother. As soon as you reach year eleven, you have teachers breathing down your neck about how little time you have and how you should've worked harder in the previous years. I'm aware of this because of what my family and friends have experienced. Knowing that is coming is a scary thought, which is why I have started working the hardest I can now. However, that doesn't help. That isn't enough time and it'll leave my mental health at an all time low. This way of assessing leaves people choosing between a future and a stable mental state, which is the last thing a fifteen or sixteen year old should have to do.
Many students choose subjects they love, as they can picture themselves in a job centred around that. That is certainly a good choice I made too. However many people will be met with a teacher that has no passion, driving their passion down too. This leaves the person with a burnt out feeling, wishing they'd never chosen their previously favourite subject and confused about their future. What does this create? More stress.
School funding is also at an all time low. I am writing this during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in England, where schools are on already low budgets needing to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on supplies. If they don't do this, they will be breaking the law. I am lucky to be in a school that is fairly lucky money-wise whilst being public and government funded, but these purchases seriously impacted our finances. Losing funding means underpaid or limited numbers of teachers, which usually creates large class sizes. The larger a class, the less private time you have with a teacher. Statistically, the larger a class, the worse students perform. Everything leads back to underperforming students and mental health, two things the Conservative Government claim to 'have under control'.
A few years back, the 9-1 grading system was introduced in the UK. This caused mass confusion across all the countries. Many people still base their decisions on how well they did via the A-H system, meaning whenever they get a grade they instantly convert it to properly understand what it means. The majority of students still haven't settled well into this system, and maybe never will. Personally I struggle to feel I have done well with this new system. A 6 sounds horrific to me but a B, the equivalent, sounds amazing. This immediately links back to mental health and stress, as it makes students feel underperformed when they aren't.
School doesn't prepare you for the real world, believing geography and French determine how far you will go in life. They may determine what schools you will go to, but not how you will survive adult life. How will you get far in life if you don't know how to file taxes, if you don't know how to get a mortgage or a loan. The UK system is a set-up, a set-up that will never change.
This system will never change because the Government directly benefited in their personal experiences. 38% of Boris Johnson's cabinet is made up of people who were educated at Oxford or Cambridge. These universities are well known for having students set to go there from birth. They are sent to grammar and private schools, then sent to Eton college and then to either Oxford or Cambridge. Eton College is a boys boarding school well known for dominating the Oxbridge scene. (Oxbridge is a combined term for the two universities previously mentioned). If they didn't go to Oxbridge, two thirds of Boris Johnson's cabinet went to other private schools, especially grammar or boarding schools. These schools tend to have smaller class sizes and more chances for one-on-one sessions
Anyone can apply to a grammar school, but there is a catch. You must first take an entry exam, where all students are pitted against each other to work out a minimum entry score every year. To get into the schools you have to score well, meaning most entrants will have had a private tutor for a considerable amount of time. These can cost a lot of money which is the main reason these schools, especially in big and major cities, tend to be for rich people. A lot of grammar schools can lead to good colleges, like Eton, that lead to good universities, like Oxbridge. Again, this only tends to happen in major grammar schools.
Boarding schools are another form of private school, where the students tend to live there for the school term and some short breaks. Depending on the school, it can cost up to fifty thousand pounds. They have very small class sizes, allowing for more personal teaching methods and more learning time.
If a member of Boris Johnson's cabinet hasn't gone to private school, either a child of theirs or another family member will have. The Conservative party represent rich, privileged people who were always set to be that way. As long as they are in power, the average child will continue to be a guinea pig for the education system built in this nation. There needs to be change, before the younger generation have no hope of building a future for the world due to their stunted education.
In short, the mainstream education system causes underperformance, stress and mental illness. While this takes place, the Government ignore the cries of help from students, parents and teacher's unions as this country begins to sink their younger generation into the mud. When will it all end?