As a country Britain fell into the top twenty at place six in 2014 regarding its exam results, however the same year its system was criticised by the Eton Headmaster Tony Little as “un-imaginative”, “un-inspiring” and “un-preparing for the modern world” through this essay it will be considered to what extent these statements are true and the possible ways in which our education system may be improved.
Unchanged since Victorian England our education system is considered to be conservative with its policy and was described as “out-dated and archaic” by the Eton headmaster, the fact is true and links to how we are currently trying to attempt to copy the highly academic schooling offered in areas such as the far East which is ironic considering those countries are now looking at the value of providing children with a more rounded, creative education. Alongside this our education system has been institutionalised since the beginning in primary school, all students are grouped by age, forced to wear uniform, and begin and end school at exactly the same time creating a black and white learning environment throughout all key stages with no variation what so ever, this statement can be backed up by a survey taken by EDGE (a charity promoting practical causes of education) where 8/10 students stated that they were fed up with school and its teaching methods.
However although undoubtedly there are many flaws regarding how imaginative the system is there are also several positives. Firstly once a child takes their GCSEs there is an option at 16 to leave school and take on an apprenticeship instead, allowing students to further their education in a more creative way without damaging their options in the future. Also our syllabus contains creative subjects such as art or physical education allowing those with a more hands on approach to learning to take part in a subject which they are confident with. Finally school trips often occur representing varied methods of teaching used in lessons, key evidence that in fact our system has several imaginative sections.
Regarding the flaws within the system, with all come solutions, surrounding the current conservative approach to education a new range of subjects could be introduced which would relate to modern day life, not only would such lessons make our system more imaginative but they would also aid in the issue of how it is considered to be un-preparing for the modern world. To solve the final issue of how our education system is institutionalised, instead of grouping by age students could be grouped be mental ability creating a more equal learning environment.
Although clearly outdated it can be seen that gradually new methods of teaching and different types of lessons are being brought into Britain’s Education system, with already several positives surrounding how imaginative the existing system is. Our current “archaic” system is easy to understand for most adults making it simpler to put their children through it and even if not constantly imaginative still encourages children to be creative, especially in the early Key stages where the child is developing most. Therefore currently it can be seen that Britain’s education system holds many imaginative qualities and a creative grounding.
With a system revolving around memory and recall including lessons often involving the repetitive method of listening and copying down information it is easy to consider Britain’s Education system as “un-inspiring”. To further continue the idea of how the system is “un-inspiring” students are forced to take compulsory subjects from KS1 onwards such as science or maths, even if they are uncomfortable with them, alongside this they are then constantly quantified, ranked and scaled in all subjects which commonly can lower students moral and create pressured learning environments for them.
On the other hand students are provided with several optional extra-curricular clubs which can be attended during and after school allowing them to focus on subjects they enjoy, however extra-curricular clubs tend to only become largely available after KS2. Alongside after school clubs most secondary schools provide job talks and job councillors which often inspire students to work harder and choose a path in life. Finally in some schools students are lucky enough to have teachers which genuinely care about their subjects and future, creating a healthy and often inspiring learning environment.
To solve the many flaws involving the lack of inspiration found in the British Education system more creative teaching methods could be introduced in all subjects such as projects, field trips, and educational films which would allow students to learn efficiently but in a more self-dependent and creative way. Furthermore there should be more movement in what classes students can take, and compulsory subjects could be reduced after KS3 allowing students to have a basic understanding of maths and English but be provided with the option to instead concentrate more on subjects which they are passionate about. Alongside this predicted grades could be reduced and instead targets with specific areas to improve on should be set creating a less pressured environment for studies, preventing students from being dissuaded from taking a subject.
It can be strongly believed that our education system is un-inspiring and can be seen that it grows more so between the jump from primary to secondary school, the basic and repetitive style used in teaching can be clearly seen in all age groups constantly creating an uninspiring learning environment, although there are inspiring factors within the system they aren’t constant or always available in every situation. Therefore on the whole at this point the British education system is more un-inspiring than inspiring.
The final and possibly most important criticism of Britain’s education system was how it is “un-preparing for the modern world” this should be the most valued as it may have the most effect on students lives influencing how they function in the future and how they manage to develop in society. For one in lessons and throughout the education system students are always told the answers for everything and are constantly being provided with solutions instead of being forced to go through the process themselves, this could be clearly seen in June 2015 when a maths question on a GCSE EDEXEL paper asked a seemingly “impossible” question which reached the news, in a BBC article many students said “I found the exam bearable at the beginning but then it took a sharp turn to maths that was way too hard.” And “I can’t remember the numbers, but the one about Hannah’s sweets in particular made me want to cry.”
However later when the question was re-explained by teachers they easily understood it and the only problem was that to be able to solve it they had to think outside the box, something which isn’t encouraged through teaching.
Alongside this within schools it is considered taboo to challenge rules and answered provided, and answering back is discouraged, this doesn’t prepare students for their future where they will constantly have to defend themselves against environments that they believe are unfair by complaining and challenging authority figures such as bosses, or department heads. Finally throughout primary education students are all kept in the same age groups, an unrealistic setting for the real world where they will be constantly surrounded by people of different ages, religions and personalities that they will not experience in education due to grouping years by age and therefore reducing a child’s emotional intelligence.
However students have the chance to take part in subjects such as L4L, food tech and P.E mainly during secondary education which teaches them to have healthy lifestyles, live safely and provides key knowledge and skills for the future. Alongside this in education students are surrounded by their peers for 6-7 hours a day improving their social skills and awareness of others. Finally each student at the end of their education leaves with GCSEs and critical skills, whether their knowledge is advanced or basic they have a grounding for it, with several subjects preparing them for future career paths providing a wider span of knowledge regarding the world around them.
To further prepare students schools should encourage pupils to research and find their own information through textbooks, reading, films, documentaries and research along with teachers providing them with it. To link with the point before teachers should also encourage students to debate with peers and teachers whilst asking for explanations instead of always following set lists of instructions. Also introducing vertical tutoring, especially in KS4 and KS5 would encourage students to interact and deal with those of different ages, improving social skills and emotional intelligence for the future.
The argument of whether education prepares for the modern world is commonly met by whether it is the parent’s responsibility to prepare their child, however overall I believe that to an extent the current education system takes a moderate amount of responsibility in preparation, especially during GCSE and A level years.
Overall the statement of how Britain’s education system is “un-imaginative”, “un-inspiring” and “un-preparing for the modern world” holds a large amount of validity and points out key issues with our system. However all systems have faults to meet their more prominent successes and although outdated the current system is well known and secure with most people having a large understanding of it. The faults for each point can be easily solved and gradually the system is adapting to the continuously changing environment, in the future a higher focus should be put on providing for the individual student’s needs, therefore encouraging different methods of learning. Nevertheless when comparing all the evidence it can be believed that although the statement of how Britain’s education system is “un-imaginative”, “un-inspiring” and “un-preparing for the modern world” is true to an extent on the whole it works well for a large number of students and provides for all of the three factors criticized, even if not to the extent where a may wish it to be.