10 September 2016

A Rant About the English Education System

This year on GCSE results day, I listened to the radio and heard their in-depth analysis of the results and how all the 16 year olds had done. I found this a really interesting listen although their main point was about how this year they had overall got worse grades than last year (my results) and they were talking down to all these students who hadn't performed "well enough". This got me really annoyed so I decided to discuss all the faults of the English education system.

We choose our GCSE subjects too young. Because young people develop and change their interests, passions and ideas on careers a lot as they grow up, they need to be given the opportunity to discover all the different careers and subjects that are out there. I'm now about to start my second year of A levels and have only realised how much I enjoy art as a passion outside of school, but I didn't do the GCSE in it or choose the A level meaning that I can't study this at a high level at all now. I think this is unfair because when I was 14 and choosing my GCSE subjects, I didn't know that by 17 I'd really want a creative career involving art and psychology, but now I do.

There isn't enough time in the school timetable to be able to choose enough subjects. This means that you have to narrow your subjects a lot so that I only ended up with doing all the core subjects and a few chosen. For example, this meant I had to choose between history or geography and music or art, which is unfair if I don't know what job I want or which subjects will be most interesting or useful to me. It also means that children leave high school lacking basic general knowledge in certain subjects.

Within schools and government, there is a huge bias against the arts, design, and technology, drama, music, etc. Maths, English, and the sciences are given priority over every other subject and I understand that to some extent because most jobs will require some kind of level of English or maths, but this doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the other subjects. Just because a child isn't academically talented, doesn't mean that they have no talent at all and even if they don't show a talent while at school doesn't mean they aren't talented either. We give children the belief that they aren't good enough or clever enough if they aren't performing well in English, maths or science, but this is unfair. They could become a famous artist, musician, company owner... we don't know, nobody does. Therefore we should treat all subjects equally so that the young people can find their passion and talent without believing that they should be better at other things than that.

The government seems to change constantly and therefore they continue to make edits and changes to the school system. Next school year will be the first exams for the new style, harder GCSE's which my brother will have to take; A levels are currently moving from exams in both years to a linear system with exams at the end... While I understand change, I only understand it if there seems to be a point to it and with these changes to the education system, I can't see the point. They don't seem to be making these changes to improve the system or make it worse, it just seems to be something new and different to try.

In the new GCSE's which the government is creating, coursework is being removed from most subjects. This is a huge downfall, some people work better with coursework and the element increasing their chance of gaining a good grade. Coursework can also show how a subject can be applied outside of a school and exam environment. For example, playing an instrument in music, researching and writing fully planned essays in history, or painting in art.

The idea of new grammar schools is just a bad one. Research has shown that if you put a child who is good at that certain subject with someone who isn't as good, the latter will be able to see how to do it better and be able to learn from their peers to improve and excel at the subject.

Overall we are not playing to individuals' strengths.

No wonder there are so many successful people in the world who tell stories of bad school grades and disgraceful school reports when we aren't helping all these individuals thrive. Jeremy Clarkson told the students who got their grades this year that he only just passed a couple of GCSEs and now he is world famous and very rich. Albert Einstein was told in school that he would never amount to much and he became a world famous theoretical physicist. I don't understand why people with power aren't taking notice of this and doing something about it. This simply shows how the education system is flawed if people who go on to be successful and famous actually didn't succeed in school... Did they not benefit at all from school? Was there no point in them attending at all?

And it isn't even as though no country in the world has managed to create a good education system which benefits every individual.

There are examples of great successful education systems in the world: FinlandSouth Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan... I found an article on Filling My Map about all the ways that Finland's education system shows us that less is more which is an interesting read. The children in these systems don't start school until a later age and don't start the school day till later and why, because they are looking at research done on education and using it to create a system that works. They come out with more useful qualifications and end up in better jobs, being more successful.

This is why I don't understand how nothing is being done, we should make examples of these countries and use their ideas to our advantage to improve and better our own education system for ourselves.

But what do I know, I'm just one young individual being processed through the education machine...

Who agrees with me about the flaws of the English education system?