RANT: Education

1 March 2008

by Simon Burdus

A lot has changed in the last 30 years in the British education system. I’m sure Ed Balls and John Denham, the current ministers for education, would tell you how far superior schools are now than they were back then. GCSE and A-Level results break records year upon year. We have specialist schools, a national curriculum, peer mentors, school governors, scholarships and Ofsted reports. However, none of these so called improvements can affect the biggest change to the education system: society. Our current society is crippling the education system and it needs to be reversed. We spend our lives worrying about terror attacks, looking at skinny men in anoraks and thick rimmed glasses hoping they aren’t paedophiles, we watch what we say for worry of not being politically correct and heaven forbid if we have an accident and hurt someone because there is now definitely no such thing as an accident. Things were much simpler in the 70s and education worked a lot better. Let me run some scenarios by you if I may.

Brett and Jack have an argument and fight after school

1978 – Crowd gathers, Jack wins, Brett and Jack shake hands, hug and end up best friends

2008 – Teachers worry about being sued, they ring the police. An armed response unit arrives and arrest both boys. They are both charged with assault, end up with ASBOs and are suspended from school. Parent meetings are called and both boys must attend anger management classes.

Ali fails his English GCSE

1978 – Ali retakes his GCSE the year after, passes and gets a job earning very good money.

2008 – Ali’s case is taken up by a local human rights group. National press write stories suggesting that having English as a core subject is racist. The EU civil liberties group agree and launch legal action against the state school system and Ali’s English teacher. English is banned from curriculum. Ali is awarded his qualification but ends up unemployed because he can’t speak English.

John Paul falls over and scrapes his knee and Mrs Jones gives him a hug to stop him crying.

1978 – John Paul soon feels better and goes back to playing football

2008 – Mrs Jones is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job aged 57. She faces three years in prison. John Paul undergoes five years of therapy and is then convinced he must be gay.

I don’t understand how teachers are meant to improve the system when they face so many barriers. You can’t pat a kid on the head, you can’t have a bit of fun with a firework, you can’t have a fight and make up afterwards, you can’t just be naughty; you must have a disability. We really need to take a step back before we can take a step forward in Education. Kids need to stop being so wrapped up in cotton wool, let them learn from their mistakes and the whole education system will improve.