School has always been a huge part of my life – something wonderful and something that had genuinely made me more upset than I’d like to admit.
I always want to be positive when it comes to school. I’m a huge advocate for education throughout one’s life, not just at school, and I love the idea of constantly learning, but I do think that the educational system is flawed.
The system that I’ll be talking about here is the British one, as that is the one that I am subjected to as I live in the UK.
I firstly would like to say that my school is rated Ofsted ‘outstanding’. This rating is decided by the amount of As and A*s that the school can shovel out at GCSE and at A-Level (and high grades at IB, as my school offers the International Baccalaureate at sixth form) and it’s also decided by a couple of Ofsted inspectors watching a couple of lessons and speaking to a couple of students about their opinions on the school.
I think that, although my school is a good school, this way of rating schools will not always work. Just because my school (which will remain nameless for reasons that I’ll explain later) churns out a very high percentage of As and A*s, does not mean that the students are happy there. The discipline at my school is so strict that it barely makes sense, and the attitudes of a lot of teachers towards students verge on insulting.
At my school, you will get an hour’s detention after school if you are caught with your top button undone. It’s not even like I go to a public school – true, I go to a selective grammar, but this just seems insane to me. You get an hour’s detention if you are caught with your phone out. No, not even just in class, if you have your phone out at break or lunch and you are caught, that’s a detention. And I will explain now why I am not saying the name of my school – firstly to preserve some kind of privacy and prevent anyone from stalking me, but also because if a student criticises the school by name, they get a detention with a member of the senior leadership team. Even if that criticism is perfectly well-founded.
Now the attitudes of teachers. Since the school gained a new head teacher (which is actually when all these problems started…hmm…) a lot of really good teachers have been let go because they disagree with the new head’s ‘regime’, and they’ve been replaced with young teachers who don’t know what they’re doing and blindly follow the instructions of the head. Most of these young teachers completely adhere to these new ‘thinking school’ tools that the head insists are used at least once a lesson. Look them up – they are a set of ‘thinking hats’ (for different types of thinking) ‘thinking maps’ (for presenting information in different ways) and ‘thinking keys’ (to help with asking and answering questions and make you think).
I’m not averse to these in any way. If that’s what floats your goat, then fine. However, I don’t find them helpful to my learning. I think they were implemented into the school in a way that was guaranteed to make most of the students hate them, and I don’t appreciate having them shoved down my throat when they aren’t enhancing my learning in any way – if anything they’re hindering it with the constant-ness of them.
Not only this, but my little brother goes to the same school as I do, and in his art class the teacher said to a 12-year old girl, “You are genuinely a horrible person.”
This little girl started crying.
And this teacher is the same teacher that was my form tutor, but she couldn’t control our class and so she decided that she had an ‘other engagement’ in the mornings and therefore couldn’t be our form tutor anymore.
There is a picture of her in the dictionary under the definition of ‘coward’.
I have to say, that is my opinions towards the person, not the school – but here’s the clincher. No disciplinary action was taken towards the teacher.
I know it seems contradictory, but there’s also a severe lack of discipline towards certain people. My boyfriend has been hit in the face, not once, not twice, but three times by the same person in his year. Each time he had either bruised or bled. And this kid has got, what one day of exclusion? For all that. I’m sorry, I know I’m biased because it’s my boyfriend, but I’m not going to take that. Especially when the provocation for each blow was when my boyfriend was defending someone else from this kid’s abuse. The school needs to DEAL with this. I think one of the reasons they are avoiding it is because this kid has ADD. The school are tiptoeing around him to make sure that the parents don’t say anything about the school being discriminatory, but letting him get away with hitting people is not the way to do this.
That little girl and this abusive guy may still get As and A*s in their GCSEs and give the school yet another piece of ‘proof’ of how ‘good’ the school is, but Ofsted and the government won’t know about the teacher or his little one sided wrestling matches.
Something not nearly as serious but something that I found seriously hilarious, is this next thing. I was told yesterday that the way the government took in GCSE grades was changing. They take the grade of the first exam you take in the subject and use that as your overall grade when it comes to marking the school. Now, what my maths teacher forgot to say was that last clause. I am being put forward for the iGCSE in maths – an extra, harder qualification which involves two extra tests, but will get you some brownie points. My teacher was saying that she might not want to put me in because you do the iGCSE exam first. So if I get a B in my iGCSE and an A* in my maths GCSE, my grade for maths that the school sends off will be a B. This doesn’t affect me, as when it’s all over I will still have a B at iGCSE and an A* at maths GCSE. It just means that the school’s ratings go down. This just makes me all the more eager to do the iGCSE.
You may think – well, there’s no justification for this! I have this proof – there were not enough year 11s last year who wanted to stay at the school for them to have a big enough sixth form. So they took OUR LIBRARY and made it into a sixth form only ‘learning resource centre’. We have only had this library for a short time, and it used to be the gym so it was massive and full of books and resources! Our ‘library’ now doesn’t even deserve to be called that – it’s a glorified computer room where the people who skive have to sit and catch up on work whilst the year sevens try to access Minecraft on the school computers without a teacher noticing. This SFLRC is the only thing that gave my school a big enough sixth form. Sorry, school, but saying ‘pretty pretty please with a cherry on top’ and giving people our library doesn’t make you a good school.
And you know what? The school is paid more depending on how big their sixth form is.
Just goes to show, my school only ever does anything to cover their own behinds. It’s selfish and it drives me insane, but I’m not going to move school. I have friends here, and academically it’s a great school. Everyone is so intelligent – if I carry on the way I’m going, I’ll have four A*s under my belt by the end of this year, and I won’t have even finished all my GCSEs yet. I can’t claim all the credit for that, some has to go to the school. I’m just lucky that for now they are thrusting the young and mouldable teachers on the year sevens and eights, and leaving us year tens to our GCSE-ing with the very few (and very grumpy) good teachers. I don’t know why they stay here to be honest – but I’m glad they do.
I have a lot more to say about the UK education system, about a certain Michael Gove (*shivers* sorry, when I mention his name my intelligence tries to slap me in the face) and about governmental changes to our education and how university is going to affect me (especially since I’d like to look at going to Oxford/Cambridge…) financially and personally.
But that’s for another time, another post. I’m sure you’ve had enough of my ranting for today.