Changing Face of British Education Term Paper

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Changing Face of British Education

The objective of this work is to review education in modern Britain from the mid-1700s to the present. This work will focus on how education is currently changing and what those changes entail.

Historically, education in Britain was for the most privileged in society however, over time that changed and a view was held that all students were important and deserved the opportunity to earn a university degree but in recent years the view has again shifted and students who are unable to afford high tuitions are again facing a life of work with too little education and too little training because university funding is not available to them. This problem is further exacerbated by the potentiality of the financial gain to be realized on tuitions charged to foreign students increasingly rapidly in their entrance into the Britain Universities and the fact that government and school management greatly desires to end capping tuition fees so that exorbitant fees may be charged foreign students to attend the universities.

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I. UK YOUTH ABANDONED by EDUCATION SYSTEM recent report entitled: "Report Reveals UK Youth Abandoned by Education System" states that in a recent report published by the Bow Group, a Conservative Party think Tank...paints a devastating picture of a whole generation of young people being abandoned by the current educational system." (Smith, 2007) According to this report 100,000 children and young people are "losing out on education." (Smith, 2007) This report is stated to indict "the Labour government for failing some of the poorest and most deprived young people in the country." (Smith, 2007) Smith states that the benchmark used to measure success in schools in England and Wales are "how many pupils pass five GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) with grades a to C." During 2006 five good GCSEs were obtained by 59% of students, which was 14% higher than in 1997. The problem however, is that this achievement has been realized "at the expense of less-able students..." As approximately 25% of pupils taking the GCSEs do not make above a C. (Smith, 2007)

Term Paper on Changing Face of British Education Assignment

II. READING, WRITING, and MATHEMATICS

It is related in the work of smith that 43% of students in Britain are not reaching the levels in reading, writing and mathematics that are expected of students for moving upward into secondary schools. The following facts are stated:

Between Key Stage 2 (age 7-11) and Key Stage 3 (age 11-14), 84,100 pupils make no progress or fall backwards in English -- 38,100 in math and 145,000 in science.

Almost a fifth of 14-year-old boys have the reading age of a seven-year-old. (Smith, 2007)

Many of those who drop out of school "are those who have been permanently excluded and who are not accounted for in the alternative education provision of a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)." (Smith, 2007) Those attending the PRUs "have dramatically increased from 3,860 in 1997 to 7,080 in 2006" and of these "only 56% are entered for a GCSE." (Smith, 2007) Smith states that these statistics "are indeed an indictment of the Blair government's education policy. But the Bow Group's use of them is cynical" in that the reason for the focus on the problems of these vulnerable students by Labour is the "advance alternative proposals for education and training that will only worsen the situation." (Smith, 2007)

III. FINANCIAL WOES in EDUCATION

The "strongest condemnation" stated in the report is concerned with the money that is frittered away on "areas such as PRUs in the amount of approximately 263.3 million pounds and "the fact that young people are dropping out because they are 'uninspired by what they see as an overly academic curriculum, or a curriculum that does not engage them with what they want to do, or the way they want to learn." (Smith, 2007)the current practices in British schools enables students from age fourteen upward to "opt for a vocational route of which three days are spend in school studying core subjects and two days on placement." (Smith, 2007) the primary focus of the report is to "raise the status and quality of practical learning in schools...and is stated to be achieved not by giving schools more money to build the facilities to carry this out, but by creating in every local authority 'Enterprise Portals' run by small businesses - in return for an exemption on business rates." (Smith, 2007) Currently the British government is encouraging schools in running private academies or trusts or to change to a foundation status, which removes the school from the control of the local authority, which will allow schools to establish their own policies concerning admission to the schools. The silence by the Labour on the Bow report indicates that it has plans to adopt the policies "initially pioneered by the Tories" with the final re-establishment of a two-tier system that is similar to the traditional grammar schools and secondary modern schools where academic education is denied to millions of children at the age of 14. (Smith, 2007; paraphrased)

IV. HIGHER TUITION & STUDENTS WHO HAVE NO MEANS

The work of Robert Stevens entitled: "Britain: Poorer Students Numbers Fall as Tuition Fees Are Hiked Up?" relate that applications by undergraduates to enroll in university courses in England during the Fall or 2006 fell by approximately "15,000 compared with 2005." (2006) Stevens states that the reason for the decline in enrollment is due to introduction of "top-up fees of 3,000 pounds a year. This amount replaces the previous system fees introduced by the Blair government in which 1,000 pounds was paid up-front." (2006) the decline was dismissed by the government who made claims that the figures "indicated a 'strong performance' in terms of student enrollment. In reality, figures show that the percentage of students going to a university from poor families has fallen drastically along the overall numbers from all state schools." (Stevens, 2006) According to estimates "17% of university students are working class backgrounds, a decrease of three percent in less than two years." (Stevens, 2006) recent survey conducted by the Universities Market Forum as reported in Stevens (2006) states findings that 47% of sox formers surveyed stated that they were unable to pay the fees that were required to taking a degree course. Furthermore, a Higher Education Funding Council report states findings that for those in the more affluent areas, teenagers had a 50% advantage of attending a university with odds falling "1 in 10 for those in the poorest neighborhoods." (Stevens, 2006) the new system in British schools requires students to repay the fees totaling 3,000 pounds per year at the time they start earning an amount in excess of 15,000 per annum. (Stevens, 2006; paraphrased) Many of the students are required to take out loans for living expenses in addition to this amount and estimations have stated calculations that the amount of debt the student will graduate with is approximately 15,000 pounds on the low end ranging to 33,000 pounds for the costliest education. According to the Department of Education and Skills Student Income and Expenditure Surveys, official figures "who that the introduction of tuition fees has already had a harmful effect on students financially. Debt levels in the surveys rose from £3,465 in 1998/99 to £7,900 in 2004/05 -- an increase of 127%. Poorer students' debt has risen the most dramatically -- by two and half times since 1998. The debt owed by poorer students is on average 43% higher than that of children from better-off families." (Stevens, 2006) Studies conducted even more recently state a higher burden of debt and specifically a survey conducted by Barclays Bank states findings that "in 1994 the average graduate debt was 2,212 pounds. By 2005, this had increased to 13,501 pounds." (Stevens, 2006) the highest debt levels are those among medical and dental students and this is not good news for any student in light of the fact that the debt levels "are set to drastically increase under the new system. Ever since the introduction of tuition fees there have been calls from senior politicians and university heads to raise the cap on what can be charged." (Stevens, 2006) There is a review set for 2009 however certainty exists that the fee cap of tuition will be raised by 2,000 pounds from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds and possibly more. Stevens notes that the attitude of the government ministers on this issue is a little startling as the "standard rhetoric of government ministers and education experts" is generally a "denunciation of university education as 'middle-class welfare'." (Stevens, 2006) Those in the middle class who do manage to earn a degree will only earn two to ten percent more than students who left education at 18, which further deflates students becoming inspired to gain a university degree. Stevens relates that during elections the present government's platform was inclusive of a commitment for ensuring "that at least 50% of school leavers would have access to quality higher education. Instead through a regressive programme of eliminating… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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