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Are We Learning From Our Mistakes In Education Policy?

Opinion / August 26, 2011

We like to think we’re developing as a nation but as our educational prowess has just taken its annual hammering with the GCSE and Advanced level exam results. Despite the supposed improvement in results much is linked to the popularity of easier subjects. The quality of our teaching resources and schooling system languishes in the “could do better” zone. Such criticism would not merit respect except it comes from the very Head teachers responsible for our children’s education.

Despite state and private education being around for 100’s of years it has fundamentally failed to track with economic, social and technical developments. Countless secretaries of state for education have come and gone. Many leaving behind turmoil and failed educational initiatives that have cost billions of pounds. Their policies have been short-lived, created by short-term government ministers who hold the post for a desperately brief tenure leaving behind confusion, frustration and a deep-seated concern for the future of our children. We are slipping down the international educational league tables at an alarming rate and as yet do not have a concerted policy that can address this trend. Exam Results Reveal failure in Educational System

Accepting the strategic importance of education it seems crass to hand this vital role to a government minister who inevitably is equipped with an Eton and Oxford background. Having therefore benefited from a pinnacle of education being expected to empathise with the overall failings of the education system that serves millions of our children seems remote. Countless schemes and national initiatives have been introduced that are openly criticised and condemned by the very head teachers responsible for their implementation. Failed or abandoned trials leave hundreds of thousands of children stranded or robbed of the education they deserve. The policies cause undue stress within our teaching resources and having a negative influence on new teachers 50 per cent of who abandon the role within five years. This staggering waste of expensive educational resource remains an unresolved indictment of the educational sector.

Key performance indices (KPI) introduced by the bureaucrats to measure performance have been duly manipulated by the more savvy head teachers and clouded the true results and trends. Yet government educational departments busy handling the introduction and measurable the next initiative seems bereft of prior consultation with the unions, colleges and teaching resources. The fate of well meaning radical reforms and learning schemes could be vastly improved and the doomed schemes aborted before they damage our schooling systems.

Above all politicians zest for glory could be muted. As the average tenure of an educational Secretary is around 18 short months they hardly have time to get to grips with the status quo let alone develop and in depth strategic plan.

Our children deserve to be among the best educated in the world. Educational traditions of quality extend back hundreds of years for very few institutions. And over the next 10 years the numbers attending primary school will swell by a further 300,000 children. We have a UK wide problem that should take precedence in government planning. We must invest in these children after all they will run the economic recovery of the UK and replace the government of today, hopefully, from a much wider platform.


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