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What would you change about the british education system?

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    1. Reintroduce grammar schools! It's the best way to put the most able children in an environment that will really stretch them, and there could be multiple entry points (ie. year 7, year 10 and year 12) so those that develop intellectually slightly later aren't held back. Failing that, all subjects in schools should at least be set, also perhaps allowing some pupils to move up years for at least certain subjects and allowing able pupils to take GCSEs or A levels early and use the remaining time to further their understanding of the subject outside of the curriculum.

    2. Teach more politics in schools! This could be incorporated into the current curriculum for R.E. or Citizenship if necessary, but it really is needed if we want to end the current apathy and have well informed voters affecting how our country is run in the future.

    3. Make a language compulsory until the age of 16! They're so massively important now that our society is becoming more and more globalised yet they're being neglected in our schools. If we want to keep up in industry, we need to start teaching them.

    4. Make GCSEs and A levels harder! Grades are being devalued due to inflation and are now effectively worthless. One way of combating that is setting percentages each year so that, say, the top 10% get an A and so on through the rest of the grades. Other systems could also be used but the qualifications need to regain their value if they're going to be of any use to universities and employers.n The actual content of the courses also needs to be harder to bridge the gap between school and university, as well as to stretch the brightest pupils who are currently bored rigid and turned off education.

    5. Encourage development of a knowledge of a subject outside of the curriculum, especially in years 7 - 9 when there aren't even any exams that pupils are studying for. If pupils are really turned on and engaged by a subject at this stage they will be far more willing to pursue it when it starts to get harder later on. To further this, the IB should be available in more schools to encourage a broader education even into the sixth form.
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    (Original post by Astronomical)
    Yes, unfortunately this is a problem that simply must be overcome as a matter of urgency. Being the smart guy or gal has to be seen as "cool".
    Ah, the dream :rolleyes:

    (Original post by Astronomical)
    At current it is all wrong. I'd change more or less everything about it. I feel that as it is, the system does not "educate" at all, due to students not wanting to learn, and teachers focusing entirely on examination results and not any actual understanding of the subject matter.

    I believe that the focus in Key Stage 1 should be entirely on learning how to use basic grammar, and practicing hand-writing. The number of people who cannot form a grammatically correct sentence is frankly appalling.

    Thereafter (so Key Stage 2 and 3) the development of handwriting, articulacy and grammar should continue, and elementary maths should be introduced from the ground upwards, slowly, and in a fashion that makes obvious the manner in which theorems such as Pythagoras' Theorem come about, not the usual "this is true, because Pythagoras said so thousands of years ago" - it is more important to show students WHY, so they can be amazed, and not just think it is some arbitrary rule that has no meaning to anything real.

    I would wait until GCSE years until introducing other subjects. With a firmer grounding in English the humanities will be more approachable, and more of an appreciation for discerning new relationships in maths, the sciences will be less daunting as the logical method of thought will be already beginning to develop.

    What will the benefits be? A more educated, logical thinking society more likely to make good decisions and generally improve. Of course, a large part of the problem we have today resides in the fact that at school it's 'not cool' to be the clever person.
    More time should be spent on correct usage of English, however I think it's not a good idea to wait until people are 14/15 to introduce them to subjects other than Maths/English. That would cause some people's heads to explode You can't have pupils doing two subjects exclusively for 9/10 years and then expect them to suddenly start working with 10+. Not only this, but you'd never have enough to time to bring about a full, true understanding of the subjects, which would be rather counterproductive to your entire goal.

    The atmosphere of a primary school should be balanced out into an environment where children are able to be children, yet also able to learn properly. Not a place where the most advanced skill available is finger-painting.

    I think a large reason for the focus on passing exams is the simple lack of time teachers have. Perhaps if the school day was extended. Some countries start school at 8:30 and end at 5:30. Of course, as I say, if primary schools were more focused and taught children to love learning, there might be less need for secondary schools to reteach so many subjects from the ground up.
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    (Original post by MangoFreak)
    Ah, the dream :rolleyes:



    More time should be spent on correct usage of English, however I think it's not a good idea to wait until people are 14/15 to introduce them to subjects other than Maths/English. That would cause some people's heads to explode You can't have pupils doing two subjects exclusively for 9/10 years and then expect them to suddenly start working with 10+. Not only this, but you'd never have enough to time to bring about a full, true understanding of the subjects, which would be rather counterproductive to your entire goal.

    The atmosphere of a primary school should be balanced out into an environment where children are able to be children, yet also able to learn properly. Not a place where the most advanced skill available is finger-painting.

    I think a large reason for the focus on passing exams is the simple lack of time teachers have. Perhaps if the school day was extended. Some countries start school at 8:30 and end at 5:30. Of course, as I say, if primary schools were more focused and taught children to love learning, there might be less need for secondary schools to reteach so many subjects from the ground up.
    On the one hand I do agree with you that going from 2 to 9 or more subjects could be a difficult transition, but on the other hand I don't agree that there is not enough time to accomplish a good level of understanding. The subject matter taught from, say, year 3-9 is usually repeated in GCSE years anyway. I believe that were this time spent on developing more essential skills, as opposed to trying to remember dumbed-down geography/history/science then when the student begins to do these subjects, the intensity can start at a much higher level initially.

    Even at A-level much of the first year is repeating GCSE material at a slightly harder difficulty, which makes no sense to me; better to do less at GCSE and do it with more intensity and depth, and then fresh material every year. With 4 years of intense (and I repeat this word for emphasis) history/geography/physics/chemistry/biology a solid understanding could be gained.

    Again, just my opinion, based on my experience as a student.

    I do completely agree that schools should encourage children to want to learn, rather than make it a necessary and boring waste of time.
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    A burning point that I want to get out is that teachers should definitely stop teaching towards exams, its excruciating. Especially at A level and ESPECIALLY with a subjects like Biology and Chemistry at A level (I do both btw).

    The former is thought by many to be the more interesting as exam boards try to include a broad range of subjects for teaching, which is good, but not good enough. The subject should be taught in a great depth in many areas and actually allow you to choose differing modules out of a wide range of areas (similar to the structure of A level Maths) to suit the subject areas you want to apply to in HE

    The latter, I think and I hope a lot of you that do A Level Chem will agree with me, is a subject that has had its name slandered thanks to the current education system that fails to insight almost any interest at all in earlier years in the subject. This, I think, is due to the fact that the syllabus ignores the fact that this is, at heart, a practical subject that is of the fundamental sciences to us in terms of both daily life and in taking our knowledge of the world we live in further. I want to see a big change in the why Chemistry is taught in schools. With the base knowledge of chemistry built up from Year 7 up to 10 (and I also believe the sciences should be taught separately starting from Year 7), Then builing upon the this foundation and improving it in Year 11 and in A Level.
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    Some kind of compulsory political education unit in secondary school beyond what is taught in PSHE/Citizenship (a lot of schools don't even offer this). I found my politics A-level invaluable in learning not just about governmental structure, but also for making me take an interest in current affairs. I was astounded when the AV referendum came around and more than half the people I know didn't even know what they were voting for or what the changes would incur.

    I also think this sort of compulsory political education would encourage voter turnout and thoughtful voting. There also seems to be an increasing number of people calling for the voting age to be lowered, and if this is to be done then surely the new target electorate should know what they're voting for?
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    (Original post by emcero)
    Some kind of compulsory political education unit in secondary school beyond what is taught in PSHE/Citizenship (a lot of schools don't even offer this). I found my politics A-level invaluable in learning not just about governmental structure, but also for making me take an interest in current affairs. I was astounded when the AV referendum came around and more than half the people I know didn't even know what they were voting for or what the changes would incur.

    I also think this sort of compulsory political education would encourage voter turnout and thoughtful voting. There also seems to be an increasing number of people calling for the voting age to be lowered, and if this is to be done then surely the new target electorate should know what they're voting for?
    only problem with this is (inb4 hate) 101% of teachers are labour supports, srs statistic, and will alter the way they teach. the bias i heard in general studies was unreal..

    but serious it's not just my experience, most teachers are socialists
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    (Original post by sanksta)
    1. Reintroduce grammar schools! It's the best way to put the most able children in an environment that will really stretch them, and there could be multiple entry points (ie. year 7, year 10 and year 12) so those that develop intellectually slightly later aren't held back. Failing that, all subjects in schools should at least be set, also perhaps allowing some pupils to move up years for at least certain subjects and allowing able pupils to take GCSEs or A levels early and use the remaining time to further their understanding of the subject outside of the curriculum.

    2. Teach more politics in schools! This could be incorporated into the current curriculum for R.E. or Citizenship if necessary, but it really is needed if we want to end the current apathy and have well informed voters affecting how our country is run in the future.

    3. Make a language compulsory until the age of 16! They're so massively important now that our society is becoming more and more globalised yet they're being neglected in our schools. If we want to keep up in industry, we need to start teaching them.

    4. Make GCSEs and A levels harder! Grades are being devalued due to inflation and are now effectively worthless. One way of combating that is setting percentages each year so that, say, the top 10% get an A and so on through the rest of the grades. Other systems could also be used but the qualifications need to regain their value if they're going to be of any use to universities and employers.n The actual content of the courses also needs to be harder to bridge the gap between school and university, as well as to stretch the brightest pupils who are currently bored rigid and turned off education.

    5. Encourage development of a knowledge of a subject outside of the curriculum, especially in years 7 - 9 when there aren't even any exams that pupils are studying for. If pupils are really turned on and engaged by a subject at this stage they will be far more willing to pursue it when it starts to get harder later on. To further this, the IB should be available in more schools to encourage a broader education even into the sixth form.
    didnt read everything you said just the 1st sentences, and agree with them all. you have always been able to enter grammar school later, there is a 12+ and 13+ to my knowledge.
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    (Original post by sconter)
    only problem with this is (inb4 hate) 101% of teachers are labour supports, srs statistic, and will alter the way they teach. the bias i heard in general studies was unreal..

    but serious it's not just my experience, most teachers are socialists
    I actually completely understand your point. A lot of my political education came from my other (non assigned politics) teachers and even though the majority were left wing, the differing ideologies actually really helped me find my own political stance.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    ...
    Very good post, I completely agree!
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    There are a lot of things that I think need changing, but two of the most important, to my mind, are the following:

    1. A complete overhaul of the teaching of English, removing the focus on poetry and literature. I love reading and I think it's a shame if young people don't appreciate books, but book appreciation isn't a suitable subject for a compulsory GCSE and reading in class doesn't inspire most children to read anyway. English teaching needs to focus on things that students will use. The nuts and bolts of language should be emphasised more than they are now, and young people need to understand how to write in a formal capacity and interpret text critically (and by that I mean correctly identifying the informational content in text - not trying to work out what some airy metaphor says about the author's feelings).

    2. A genuinely useful 'citizenship class' or whatever you want to call it, with a heavy focus on British law and government. Some mediocre stabs have been made at this and in my experience the lessons end up half-hearted and inconsistent. Learning about the legal and political systems of the country you live in should be a must of any sane education system, and yet I managed to go through my entire school career without anything but the vaguest of hints about these subjects from my teachers. Do away with RE as a separate subject, and have a single subject that students take every year, covering important legal, social (including religion), political and health (including sex education) issues.
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    1. The introduction of compulsory summer schools for pupils who are falling behind.

    2. Philosophy to be made a compulsory subject.

    3. Funding for confidence building classes at universities.

    4. The introduction of an arduous but enjoyable physical conditioning program. One that will result in children invulnerable to pain and with the speed of greyhounds, the toughness of leather and the hardness of Krupp steel.
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    This is my perspective coming from a Canadian (Albertan) education system I was in UK couple of weeks ago and looking at what some of my younger cousins were doing. What needs to happen is that things need to be much much harder. From what I have read online, there are much too many people getting A, the average student should be getting C, with B being above average and A being excellent. They need to change the grading system and what marks are required to get an A. Teachers need to change as well too, over here, high school teachers (A-level) usually have an MSc in education along with their respective subject (Math, Chem, Bio etc..). Teachers need to have better knowledge of their subject, and I hate to say this but be stricter, teachers need to less scared of being punished for doing something and instead focus on teaching their students.
    Physical education (gym class, P.E, whatever its called) should be mandatory at levels.
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    More humanities and social sciences.

    Cater to people's learning styles instead of having the same droll way of teaching over and over (and they wonder why some kids never learn).

    More variation in PE.

    Less maths.
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    (Original post by sconter)
    agree languages should be taught sooner, but how is a primary teacher supposed to do that? hiring more people + more costs.
    My mother is a primary school teacher and as of this year teaches the kids Spanish and German along side everything else. She doesnt really have any knowledge of either language, but she had 2 training days and that seems to have sufficed to get her to teach it (it is really simple stuff) and the rest of it is kinda subconcious (signs on doors with "door" in spanish on it etc.)

    My problem with the way languages are taught is the pointlessness of the content. I did French from 7-9 (our teacher left at the end of year 9 and no replacement was found so we didnt get it offered for GCSE) and all we ever learnt was about the contents of your pencil case and other non-real world stuff. Languages should be taught for business.
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    Scrap all the ludicrous reforms Gove is trying to implement as these will only make the education system worse!

    I think teachers with charisma and enthusiasm make a great difference in schools!

    Also, I agree that grammar schools should be reintroduced as although I go to a private school this is only due getting a significant discount on the fees. I feel that everyone should be able to have the best standard of education suited to their level and way of learning!
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    Not sure how much it has changed since I was at school but I think getting the cane for being a little c"£t may have put me on track much quicker than it has taken to get there by my own means.
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    The Education minister.

    I've met him and i can confirm that he is that ignorant, arrogant and out of touch with students in real life.

    Someone like that should never be allowed to be in charge of an institution as important as education.
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    Learning a language should have so much more emphasis, another one that's a big weakness compared to top education systems like those in Scandinavia is how we treat those at the lower end of the achievement scale. Identifying who has problems or disabilities early on say 4 or 5 would ho along way to improving our system.
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    (Original post by Clip)

    It should be the case that GCSEs should be much, much tougher - and that if the average student is going to fail some of them outright - so be it. If you come out of GCSE French barely able to read the menu at Cafe Rouge - then frankly you deserve to fail, not to get a C.

    They are fine - many people still fail and the people who got a C in GCSE languages (i.e. me) are just not natural linguists who maybe lost interest in the subject but put enough work in to be awarded a C - no problem there.

    (Original post by Clip)
    Same with A-levels. At the moment, universities are giving stupid offers of A*A*A - which is meaningless. Only absolutely exceptional students should be getting straight As. The average A-level student should be scoring in the ABC or BBB range, and offers at mid-level universities should reflect that. There should be nothing wrong with studying and working hard and getting BBC and going to (for example) Exeter to read History.
    If you think A levels are too easy, you are just out of touch. Yes, some people can get straight A*s without breaking a sweat, but even if you made them harder, such people would still get straight A*s - you would just be punishing students who get BBB in the current system.

    (Original post by Clip)
    T
    I'll be honest, I think the A-levels should really convert to a GPA-type grading system.
    Fair point, I would be inclined to agree.


    (Original post by Clip)
    In Tertiary education, I think there are too many subjects that should not be taught at university at all - not to say they're Mickey Mouse, but that University is the wrong place for them. I would revert to a Polytechnic-type system where large numbers of qualifications are devolved to colleges, whose awards are validated by universities. These awards could be in the form of Diplomas or such like, could be shorter, cheaper and more easily combined with practical work. Accountancy springs to mind, as do most practise-based technical courses. I would try to remove as many people from University as possible so as to allow for the lowest possible university fees.
    Such courses don't cost that much to provide - atm universities are RIPPING OFF students who do these subjects - rather than these subjects bringing up tuition fees overall, they are reducing them because universities make lots of money from providing these courses, money which can be used to subsidise the fees for other courses. So yeah, I agree with you here, but for different reasons it seems. I don't think that there is anything wrong with continuing to teach them at university though. How about we teach them in the way you are suggesting, but at a university? Why would you object to that? Just because they are not traditionally academic, that doesn't mean they should be taught at a different type of institution.

    (Original post by Clip)
    I would also quantify the cost of secondary education on a continuous basis - eg £4000 per year or whatever, and allow parents that choose to send their children to public school to have 50% of that sum as a subsidy on fees, paid directly to the school.
    .
    I'm not entirely sure what you are saying here. If you think that private school pupils should get a discount for university, I think that is a bit... random. Why should they? IMO, we should get rid of private schools altogether and provide the same opportunities and standard of education for everyone. Also, do you not think it is feasible to get rid of tuition fees altogether?

    (Original post by Clip)
    ***EDIT*** Almost forgot - make Classics compulsory on the National Curriculum. Everyone must take one of either Latin, Greek, Classics or Ancient History.
    I'm sure I speak for most people when I say that I couldn't care less about the 'accomplishments' of the Romans. I find Classics boring and you find it interesting. You stand to benefit from such a policy, whereas most of the population stand to be detrimentally affected. It is good that it is an option, but why does everyone think that their subject should be forced down people's throats. Sure, I may find ancient history interesting if it involved the Egyptians or the Greeks, but many people wouldn't and classics is hardly unique in the skill set it provides, so why make it compulsory?
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    (Original post by OSharp)
    The Education minister.

    I've met him and i can confirm that he is that ignorant, arrogant and out of touch with students in real life.

    Someone like that should never be allowed to be in charge of an institution as important as education.
    From what I have seen of him I completely agree although it is nice to have confirmation from someone who has actually met him!

    Both my parents are teachers and so I know the challenges they face and Gove is just making the education system for both students and teachers worse!

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