A bit of a rant about the education system

I have issues with the education system. I say this as a person who was over-schooled if anything. I loved learning and would happily do schoolwork into the early hours of the morning. I did well in my O-Levels and was told then that I had an outside chance of getting into Oxbridge. I decided I was going to Cambridge and applied myself enough to get the right A-Level grades to do so. I studied Law and got the degree and its follow-on Master of Arts. So I should love the education system but I don’t.

  1. Why are we cramming information into our kids that is so readily available on the Internet? Why do they need to learn complex mathematics when they can do the sums on a calculator or their phones? The likelihood is most of them just need arithmetic for everyday lives anyway.
  2. Why don’t we put more of an emphasis on good values, skills and  qualities?
  3. Why don’t we harness the passions of kids? My son wants to be a chef but there are no places for him in Domestic Science. So that class is full of people without culinary ambitions whilst he does Media Studies.
  4. Why do we care more about the performance of institutions like schools more than the mental health of our children and young people?
  5. Why is everyone banging on about kids “getting behind” with education. Behind what? Behind some scheme schedule that a white man in Whitehall dreamed up at some point. How do we expect the term “behind” to make them feel good about themselves? It is important to have self-esteem. Having that will get you through many a challenge and life crisis. Why are we threatening our children’s self-belief?
  6. Why is a lie being put out there that if you don’t get high grades, you are doomed for life. That very thing threatened one of my son’s so much that he ended up doing badly in his GCSES. Credit to him for putting himself on an Access course and doing so amazingly well in one year and a pandemic one at that that he got into Exeter University to study politics.

Those points apply in normal times but now we live in apparently unprecedented times. Might I suggest this might be a great moment to wake up to the above points? But even if we don’t, surely different rules should apply in lockdown when kids can’t get into school.

  1. I was informed by a teacher that my son was “behind” with his work weeks after lockdown started. There was a huge backlog even though I had checked with him everyday and believed him when he said he was coping. I knew he was working but apparently nowhere near enough. Why wasn’t I informed there was an issue much earlier?
  2. My kids are confronting moving country and being separated from their father. Other kids will have illness in the family or have faced bereavement. Why are schools piling on additional pressure?
  3. As I help my son with my brother’s help, both of us realise how demanding GCSEs are these days. The level of thought required reminds me of A-Levels more than O-Levels. When did that happen? Some kids are not academic and that’s OK. In fact, I think most kids aren’t academic by nature. They shouldn’t be forced to be something they are not. We all have out part to play in the world and in different ways. That’s OK or it should be in my opinion.

Rant over! I will wait for some people to see that as an apparently educated person there are typos and grammatical errors in this post.

Guess what! My blog, my rules. When I write at speed in a ranty fashion, I make mistakes but I think my points are valid and would love to hear what my readers think.

My Random Musings

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • Karen Dennis

    Nothing wrong with having a good rant every so often, Kate, if it makes you feel better #mischiefandmemories@_karendennis

  • Katrina | ChatterFoxBlog

    All very valid points, I think children nowadays are under enormous pressure. My daughter is only 3 and attends preschool but the information she gets presented to her daily is amazing, thankfully she loves to learn and drinks it all in but I worry that being bright will cause her to be put under more pressure to succeed.

    Katrina x

  • Navigating Baby

    The whole idea that they can claim my 5 year olds are behind and this could impact them forever is simply nonsense and I ignore it. Some people take a gap year, some people take two years out and they still manage to build careers and have successful lives so it is just so silly. I want my children to do well at school and I do think it is vital to do so, but this past year will not be their undoing I am quite sure #MischiefandMemories

  • loopyloulaura

    The education system has changed radically over the past few years. The primary system has been made much harder and I am not sure that the secondary schools have made the same changes. My eldest is doing maths in Year 6 that we didn’t do until Year 8: much harder, much earlier. I wonder if children feel they are failing due to the increased expectations. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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