“No child should be discriminated against because of their abilities, religion, or where they live. We would simply have a fairer and more equal society that truly focuses on hard work if we dismantle the barriers that are stopping so many“.Louise Jenifer
For myself, education has been the grassroots matter that any society needs in order for a country to improve and prosper whilst still looking after individuals. The current UK system has proved to me that education needs thorough reforms if we are able to tackle the problems that we face as a society. This divide in education has consequences further along the line with a negative impact on our public services, our economy and even on the day to day financial skills of ordinary people. I think being on the left of politics my most radical and critical views revolve around education which is why I stood for my new role as Centre Think Tank’s education spokesperson.
Education in the UK feeds directly into the cycle of poverty. If we want a society that lowers the number of people on the breadline we need to break away from a classist, split system and convert to a fully comprehensive system. Regardless of what social status a child is born into, they should have an education that lets them prosper without being hindered by their wealth or class. At the moment we still have grammar schools where just 2.6% of students are on free school meals compared to a national average of 13.4% in 2018. The situation is similar at faith schools where “disadvantaged pupils are under-represented at faith schools“.
The UK has a divided and messy education system with private schools, grammars, secondary moderns, faith schools, academies and comprehensives all within the same system. This mix of schools is a failing system which splits children off into groups before they have academically bloomed, puts pressure on failing schools and results in some schools being based more on profits than education.
It is a system where parents feel they need to pay for tutoring to get into grammar schools. The idea of the UK education system as a meritocracy doesn’t exist. It is simply classist and enables class divide to stretch into many more generations. If meritocracy is described as a ladder, it is simply missing the rungs to those at the bottom.
To move towards a comprehensive future does not mean radicalism. Nothing should be too far of a stretch when it comes to education. It should be accessible to all, the curriculum should be wider and teachers should be praised by their employers, not sublimated. No child should be discriminated against because of their abilities, religion, or where they live. We would simply have a fairer and more equal society that truly focuses on hard work if we dismantle the barriers that are stopping so many. The underfunding of many state schools pulls down the academic hierarchy which will reward the good in teaching. It is simply not fair that education is regarded as something so little when it is the biggest character build a young person will go through.
There are too many problems in the UK’s system, from all levels of academia. Thats way we need to thoroughly reform education, all the way from Nursery right through to PhD and adult education courses.
Written by Louise Jenifer, our Education Spokesperson.