It is a shame that National Service was abolished in the UK. I think this idea of military style training is excellent. It instills discipline and comradeship; arguably greatly lacking from society as a whole. However, I do not agree that there should be an easy way into the teaching profession. A degree should be a necessary stepping stone to teaching – after all without the background knowledge how can a teacher be expected to thoroughly grasp their subject? I wholeheartedly agree that ex forces personnel should be encouraged into teaching. If they do not hold a degree perhaps the government could subsidise candidates through a degree course? Potentially excellent candidates should be encouraged. Would that not be money well spent?
As a History graduate myself and somebody that retains a strong interest in History I am all too aware of the importance of the subject. An understanding of History is vital to gain understanding the present and is a blueprint for the future. The fact that schools are allowing students to drop history because they see it as ‘too tough’ demonstrates the madness of a purely grade driven education system. Education should be chiefly about learning not passing.
I wholeheartedly agree that students should be encouraged to analyse rather than learn by rote. Understanding why things happened is key to grasping their importance to the present and the future.
Whether History should be compulsory for sixteen year olds is a point for discussion but there should certainly be a more structured approach to teaching History prior to compulsory exams.
This is hardly surprising. Teacher morale is extremely low whatever the government would like us to think. The teaching profession has been increasingly undermined for years with the introduction of ever more complicated teaching structures, relentless inspection, an inability to discipline and constant criticism from above. Confidence is further undermined by suggestions that unqualified teachers be allowed to step in. De-regulation with free schools and academies only makes things more complicated and continues to knock away at the foundations of the profession. Current economic conditions have also exacerbated the problem through knee jerk pension cuts and pay freezes.
Teachers are the bedrock of future generations. However hard it is, the government needs to find a way not only of improving standards but also of paying teachers what they deserve along with guarantees on pensions. Morale would rise and teachers might remain teachers to properly educate our children. If morale and standards are low, so will be the calibre of school leavers.