The vicarious cycle of government funding applied to educational teaching resources continues. We are far from educational consistency shown by the annual games played in the selection of schools by parents and in turn; of students by schools.
Epitomised by the postcode lottery applied by many good schools, children are still subjected to a national scandal where the average school in the UK when compared to the international performance standards can be seen to be well down the league table. It seems the system, already creaking due to population growth, must expect more frequent reports of failure.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of OFSTED, must have the worst job in UK schooling. As a previous exceptional head teacher who turned a failing academy into a significant success now sees failure at school inspections at virtually every turn. The educational system in the UK has largely failed to thrive. Manipulative teaching techniques allowing teachers and schools to hit targets, a decline in the quality of exam standards have collectively induced criticism by employers that many schools leavers do not have the requisite numeracy, literacy, social skills and work ethic to enter the work place. The recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Education that we should return to exams standards abandoned in 1987 have conspired to confuse, denude and demoralise. Sir Michael Wishaw can really only achieve a damage limitation exercise whilst the system regroups.
Ideals of educational equality for all schoolchildren have long been unachievable. State schooling stalwart Sir Jonathan Miller, who once believed in the state comprehensive system, has recently opted for private education for his grandchildren. Parents of school children face an awful dilemma. They risk seeing a state education that can leave a child home dry at the end of secondary school. A 15-year investment programme ending in dismay. Qualifications that have suffered such manipulation in the eyes of the educational minister and should be completely replaced represents a testament to collective failure of his all too many predecessors. And devastating news to millions of children will pass through the system to gain a series of now, suspect, qualifications there are openly stated as being irrelevant in the commercial world.
This is just not a whim of Michael Gove. The OECD has compared the quality of UK education with other countries systematically over the last 10 years. Our ranking in English literature and numeracy, originally placed in the top five positions of the international league, now occupy slots in the also-ran mid 20’s. Whilst Britain can excel in the Olympics we perform appallingly in something as basic and vital as education.