The education system: is it failing us?

By Abby Lake, Eleanor Rossiter, Sam Bailey, Harry T

Changes to the education system have been apparent since the 21st century. Likewise, there have been many disputes over whether the education system is declining and starting to fail students.

During 2010, the Government researched what parts of the education system was in need of change and identified numerous issues following this. It was found that numerous schools across the UK were cherry-picking the type of student – based on their background and primary grades – they accepted and were often discovered to be inflating grades to make the school appear more attractive to potential students.

This consequently led to the reformation of the education system within institutions from Primary Schools all the way through to A Levels by the Education Minister Michael Gove. Currently, the grading has changed for GCSEs (and perhaps A Levels in the near future) from letters to numbers, following the previous grading system during the 1900s.

There has also been an increase in vocational choice of subjects and to the content being taught within schools, including at Primary Level.

These recent changes have led to the debate over whether the current education system is disadvantageous to those currently within the education system.

In one interview with Louise, she believed that it was not adequate for everyone, for example those with special needs and disabilities.

Presently, the design of exams is the same for every student, regardless of whether they have special needs or a disability. Those classed as such are only given support in terms of an SEN Teaching Assistant who can only provide help with reading or writing or both.

Not at any point is there more flexible assistance provided, perhaps it would be useful for the design of exams to be reconsidered – is there more that could be done to support students, not just those with special needs or disabilities, however.

This was touched upon by an anonymous interviewee who added that they had not done A Levels but instead an apprenticeship, however her desire to go to University led her to eventually applying later on in life. In these instances, the issue of when we are pushed to making a choice on the type of career we want to pursue is raised: does the education system put pressure on students, including those in Primary Schools, on deciding what it is they want to do in life? If so, does this need to change?

Recently, the current statistics for mental health among young people has been found to have had increased dramatically since the 1900s, either due to more knowledge surrounding mental health or arguably due to the pressures of society, which the education system plays a large role in.

Mental Health statistics found that “In 2008, it was found that 10% of children and young people between ages of five and sixteen have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents have not have appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.”

While not fully confirmed, it has been suggested by numerous people that the education system has largely impacted these statistics. For example, the Guardian quoted NSPCC who “says a number of schools are seeking help from NHS mental health services up by more than a third.”

Other issues highlighted in another interview with Kira is that some careers, in her case Primary Teaching, can only be achieved through going to University, opposed to other methods such as apprenticeships. This then requires students to go to sixth form, where Kira further added that the subjects she took at A Levels had no link to her current degree.

Clearly, the current education system is not beneficial for everyone and is desperately in need of change, as suggested through some of the interviews conducted today. However, as Louise put it:

“For me, the (education system) has been adequate.”

Perhaps, while it is failing some, it is not failing everyone.

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