I am sick of devices. iPads, iPods, iPhones, xboxes, wiius, playstations, etc., etc.. After getting my three children to school this morning I realised that the carnage had been slightly less painful than usual. I had nearly cleaned up the mess before leaving and we were actually on time!
An in-house ban on all electricals before school, including television. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are not obsessive about it, they do plenty of sport and other stuff but as an exhausted parent it is easy to let this stuff creep up on you.
It feels like the whole world is becoming virtual with everybody spending most of their time staring at screens. I am just another parent bemoaning the present. ‘It wasn’t like this in my day’ etc.. Just like every generation before this. Much about the internet et al is positive, but it is all too easy to let it overtake you.
My children’s behaviour this morning was subtly different and we had a good laugh despite the stress.
We are being left behind by the rest of the world because our compulsory secondary education system is confused, complicated and not testing enough.
Standards have been dropping year upon year for decades, reflected in higher and higher ‘pass’ rates and a greater quantity of ‘top’ marks. Look at the attached Graph. O Level & GCSE Achievement 1953 -2009
(Source: House of Commons Library – Standard Note SN/SG/4252 – Social & General Statistics)
This lowering of standards has fed right through to Higher Education. Top Universities are finding that freshers do not possess the knowledge which their high marks should reflect. Mathematically heavy subjects are particularly badly effected. Engineering Undergraduates at top Universities often have to have extra lessons in Mathematics because their assumed and necessary knowledge of Mathematics is just not there.
This is because we have dumbed down our examinations.
There needs to be a revolution in the examination system and it needs to happen NOW.
Through Kensington & Chelsea Tutors I come across students from all over the world. I have been consistently shocked by how we are being left behind by other nations, particularly in the 11 – 16 age range. The difference is particularly noticable in Mathematics and Science where students abroad are tackling far more testing material than students of the same age in the UK.
Unless this changes the future looks bleak; we need reform to keep the UK competitive.
In order for state schools to encourage pupil participation in sport there are two key elements that need to be in place; funding and teacher time. Since the withdrawal of the School Sport Partnership funding, finances are extremely tight.
The present structure of state education is so filled with red tape and bureaucracy it gives teachers precious little time during school hours to devote to extra-curricular activities like sports matches.
In essence teachers need more time and resources to produce future gold medallists!
For anybody who has visited a large private school – as I have (attending a wedding – not as a student) the disparity between facilities and opportunities against state education is vast. The school I visited had two golf courses! This of course is not necessarily typical but it shows clearly that this problem is down almost entirely to funding.
At my school in the West Midlands in the mid eighties the equipment we possessed was woeful – no high jump mat thicker than six inches, only four cricket pads and two bats, one (maybe two) javelins. I could go on.
It was only in a quiet moment years after leaving school that I realised that the four hundred metre track marked out for sports day each year was done by an aging caretaker who definitely did not have the acumen to do it properly – if you think about it, it’s actually very hard. I always thought that running almost sideways around the bends was just not right!
This is down to money – if we want successful sports men and women coming out of state education the government needs to invest heavily. The teachers can only work with what they have.