The British Education System


More distraction stories were thrown at us over the weekend when it emerged that Michael Gove has sacked Labour Peer Baroness Sally Morgan as the chairperson of Ofsted, the school inspection body. This has caused upset with the Lib Dems who have accused Michael Gove of trying to politicise Ofsted as an independent body. Well seeing as we are now in the run up period of a very important election this should come as no surprise, everything is going to be politicised in the coming months. There are rumours that Michael Gove has become angry at criticism of some free schools by Ofsted, in particularly how they are allowed to employ unqualified teachers. It’s a distraction story because the aim of it is to get people to think within the accepted boundaries of education and politics. Don’t question the whole system, just worry about this little aspect of it.

Ofsted are a joke, they don’t get the true picture of schooling in this country, they get schools on their very best behaviour because the schools know when they are coming. They are just another suit coming to town to decide budget allocations. I think as a whole society has forgotten what the word teacher means and just what a teacher is, a teacher is a person with knowledge and wisdom to impart onto others to help them achieve their goals in life and become the best person they can be. What we have now in this country is robots who have been dragged through the same dysfunctional education system as a pupil and then come out the other end as a teacher.

I’ve talked about my schooling previously, it was a joke. In my radio show on 22/12/2013 I discussed how my old History teacher sent a diary he kept during my time at school to the national newspapers and it was published in the Daily Mirror under the headline Inside Hells Classroom. Apart from the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic the only thing I can honestly say I learnt at school was taught to me in history by a teacher called Mr O’Brien who taught me to know the difference between primary and secondary sources of evidence. In five years of secondary education that is the only thing I can say I got taught, I didn’t learn any languages, I didn’t learn any skills and I didn’t learn how to apply myself. Everything I have learnt since I left school has been through self education.

My learning time was wasted because the teachers had to spend too much time dealing with disruptive pupils who didn’t want to learn, in 9 out of 10 cases these unruly pupils came from under-privileged homes. This type of scenario in turn leads pupils like me to resort to dicking around themselves to keep themselves amused because being bored six hours a day, five days a week for five years is not very healthy. School was not inspiring, in English we had to waste our time dissecting literacy classics, but very boring books like Of Mice and Men when there are books like Malcolm X’s autobiography out there, books that literally change your outlook on life because they are so real. In Geography instead of studying Geopolitics and the world’s economy we tediously examined river formations. Science, possibly the most interesting subject there is to learn, was made into a joke because the school didn’t have any competent science teachers and we learnt in science labs from the 1970s. I learnt nothing in I.T. because our computers were ancient and operated on Windows 98. We didn’t learn any Foreign Languages because all the Foreign Language teachers left, my French teacher was the actor who played Kenny Senior in Phoenix Nights, he couldn’t speak French!

And It wasn’t the teachers fault it was the structure of the whole system, I felt sorry for them really because they have chosen a path to help others and they end up being in a nightmare scenario everyday where chaos reigns. I didn’t realise how much the education system had failed me until I joined a large Manchester law firm for work in 2007 where I first came into contact and started mixing with people who were educated at private grammar schools and the best universities in the country, that is when I felt firsthand the class divide of this country. I never felt inferior but I just realised for the first time that because they had a better start in life the better opportunities came their way a lot easier.

As with a lot of things my main disappointments in the education system is that we are miles behind, it churns out factory workers instead of geniuses. Children enter the system with talent, creativity and imagination that is then smashed out of them and by the end and they come out a drone, their talents have been suppressed by the one size fits all system our classrooms are operated by. It seems like we don’t want visionaries, engineers, writers, scientists, in other words, greatness to come from state education, as long as there is a continuous supply of fodder for the menial jobs this country has to offer then the powers that be are happy. We aim for the lowest bar possible when we should be shooting for the stars with the knowledge and technology available to us.

I would love to hear the experiences of your education or that have your children share your comments below.

This article is authored by Lee Cooper

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