Monday, 21 January 2013

An English School in 2020: a personal view!

Futurology and the English School!

Education in the UK is undergoing a great and rapid changes in emphasis and content at the moment.  We are essentially now four different systems operating in the UK controlled by a minister for each country that makes up the UK.  Even as far as exams are concerned already differences in experiences are to be found (English Grading in 2012 is an example).  Change is whistling through the core of what was the United Kingdom.

With changes of major proportions starting to happen  I am gong to focus on a personal  bit of crystal ball gazing.  A Futurology so to speak of change.  By 2020 the essential makeup of our school system will have been subjected to major pressures.  Some of these pressures I have bullet pointed below.

To try to summarise the school of 2020 is a challenge.  Education as you will see from the links above is having it's first major shake-up since the 1940s.  Most of the changes up to now have been cosmetic with the school building still main focus of the investment.  

Changing the role of education to the new societal demands will see the disappearance of traditional Secondary schools especially  as UTCs become established for vocational teaching.  Academic subjects will still be taught in secondary school for those choosing the the university route.  The English Bacca may replace GCSEs but will be an academic qualification competing against vocational qualifications.  The previous Labour Government's target of 50 % of pupils attending university will disappear from the argument.  Along with with a lot of UK Universities.   Possibly Universities will open their own schools whereby you join the University at 14, follow some classes with Undergraduates but continue to be taught formally English and Maths.  Mentoring schemes already in place could be easily be included in this scenario 

Control of schools will pass out of the hands of local authorities and rest with individual academies and  free schools.  How do you move your child about from one to the other if you are not satisfied? I can see the resurrection of the old conservative idea of giving everybody a voucher that can be spent they choose to spend where on their children's education.  This would appeal to the independent education sector.  As far as I am aware if you send your child to a non-state school you do not receive the money that would have spent in a State run school for your child's education.  In effect you are paying twice!

The rise of transport costs to reach school in rural areas may even see part time attendance at a school building and online teaching for the rest of the week.  The use of a full time educator or two per village for all ages could see a lot of use of old buildings such as Church Halls, which are essentially community owned come back into use regularly.   Blended education will become commonplace in preparation for Teleworking in later life.  School days could be extended to 10 hours for 3 days, since pupils generally are only in lessons for 5 hours a day Monday to Friday.  Flexible attendance could be a feature to maximise classroom occupancy.  The child minding aspect of schooling could become less of feature of modern education.  This will have to be accompanied with a greater input of communities minding their own children or setting up alternative provision for two days a week.  However, with more UTCs about would there be more disaffected youth on the street?

 Ensuring your child has a consistent education suited to their needs will I think spark a new job area.  Some online tutoring companies are already using the term education consultant for people that visit homes and clients to plan extra-curricular study.  With the complexity of choice available and the increasingly fewer years pupils spend in an institution Life Long Learning coaches could appear.  I am not suggesting careers teachers since these have largely disappeared or been deemed in effective. Whether these best run as  part of local social services,  a not for profit charity or a  run by a local school board or Online Learning Community remains to be seen?  The complexity of the system by 2012 will make monitoring progress a bit of a nightmare.   True, there will be less NEETS , but will there be skills needed to earn a living at the end of the maze?

These are my own opinions using a few selected articles from the BBC website.  Change is happening and how we adapt to it is still a little unclear.  Time to put the crystal ball away for a bit! 


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