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The reality of the UK education system


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#1    pantodragon

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 04:51 PM

The education system in the UK is based on FEAR.  Fear assaults the senses the minute you enter a school.  Its presence is palpable.  It is haunts every classroom, every staffroom and every playground.  Schools are rank with it.

Of course, fear is not confined to schools – UK culture is one of fear (if anybody thinks other than that we live in a culture of fear, then they need their head looked) – but obviously fear is concentrated in schools because it hits you when you go through the gates.  And if anybody doesn’t experience this fear, then either (a) they have been working in one place for so long that, like bad smells, they are no longer aware of it, or (B) the person blames their feelings of anxiety on him/herself, not on the school or © some people are just too dead to be aware of anything.


I was a career teacher (in the classroom and in management) as well as a supply (relief) teacher for over 30 years.  I taught in a huge variety of schools: big and small, “good” and “bad”, inner-city, urban and rural.  Fear is endemic to them all, and I can identify some of its sources.

Firstly, children are given more and more control; any damned lie they choose to tell about a teacher is believed (and I have had personal experience of this).  Children are also asked to assess their teachers e.g. to interview them for jobs, to report on their teachers’ performance to school inspectors and to spy on them.  In everything but name, this is the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany in which children spied upon and reported their parents, siblings, friends, strangers to the Gestapo on the merest whim, whereupon their victims were hauled off to prison for questioning and torture.  Teachers live in fear of being “fingered” by one of their pupils.

Examinations are a source of fear to both teacher and pupil.  As a pupil I remember the fear of failing my exams, and have seen many a pupil reduced to a nervous wreck due to “exam nerves”.  Teachers fear exams for many reasons, a major fear being that exam results are used as “performance indicators” i.e. it is the teacher, not the pupil who sat the exam, who is held responsible for that pupil’s exam results.

There is a growing fear that children are running out of control.  For myself I have had fist fights break out among pupils in classes, had furniture thrown at me, been shouted at and jeered by pupils, have had to quell classroom riots etc.  Upon returning to teach in urban/city schools after 20 years in rural schools, the deterioration in children’s behaviour was shocking.  What passes for “normal”, “acceptable” behaviour today would have had a child expelled from school 20 years ago.  The children behave like lunatics.  Particularly dangerous or unpredictable children have “minders” who stay with them all day.  I have taught classes in which there were more adult minders present than actual pupils.  Particularly unpredictable children increasingly include those diagnosed as “having no sense of danger”.   Think about it, people.  You dare not take your eyes off such a child for an instant.  It can pick up a knife and stick it in another pupil, totally oblivious of the danger.  Teachers dare not open a classroom window; the child could simply jump out and fall to their death.  The child may tamper with classroom electrics and electrocute him/herself (I have known one who did this).  Meanwhile the teacher will take the blame for any accidents.

Taking pupils on excursions/field trips has become so fearful that I stopped doing this many years ago.  Others persist.  One colleague saved an inattentive pupil from falling off a cliff by hauling her out of harms way.  He was terrified of subsequently being sued for assault.  (If, on the other hand, he had failed to prevent the fall, he would also have been held responsible.)


Technology is also a source of fear.

Schools are being flooded with fancy technology.  Technology is temperamental, constantly breaking down. This is hugely stressful, especially as teachers have become dependent on it. Further, the expense of replacing broken equipment, even of breaking it (YOU broke the £350 projector bulb, it wasn’t just “broken”), is fearful.  Cheap and inadequate repairs/replacements e.g. patching broken equipment or replacing a broken item with a faulty one which “works”, piles on more stress and anxiety.


Anxiety is also generated when working with equipment that one doesn’t understand, or that requires one to behave differently, but one is not given time to develop outside the classroom.

Some of the most recent technology to be introduced in schools is interactive white boards (replacing low-tech whiteboards and felt-tip pens).  Having used them extensively I have grown to loathe these contraptions.  For example, using them forces me to work in a way that is awkward and un-natural; the technology cannot adapt to me, I have to adapt to it.  This is extremely stressful.  Also, using them demands so much of my attention that it prevents proper communication with the pupils; when one should be watching pupils’ faces/expressions for indications of understanding, one is forced, instead, to tussle with the technology.

Many teachers seek promotion by taking on technology, but without the ability to handle it -- a huge source of fear and anxiety.  A colleague of mine pursued her career by filling her classroom with technology, without the ability to handle this monster she was nurturing.  From the outside, nothing looked amiss; no connection was made between this teacher’s health (she was on heart pills) and her inability to handle technology.  However, I did life coaching with this teacher and tried to get her to drop some of the technology.  This had a huge positive impact on her health.  

Teachers’ behaviour also leaves a lot to be desired.  A telling incident happened when a teacher fell foul of school inspectors.  Far from getting back-up and support from his colleagues, they used this as an opportunity to attack him, tearing him to shreds like sharks in a feeding frenzy.  

So, this is what schools are about.  This is the horror of education in the UK. This is what you are putting your children through.

Anybody who has been in the education system for any length of time knows perfectly well that education is on the slide.  Anyone who does not admit this is in fear of losing their job, or is a liar.  Government has been presiding over this slide.  It has been tightening its control and managing ever more intrusively while at the same time avoiding blame and transferring it to teachers.  However, if the more government interferes, the worse schools get, then the obvious possibility is that it is government interference that is causing the slide.  One might suggest that the best thing government could do for the education system is to leave it alone.


#2    stevewinn

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 10:29 AM

what are you going on about. i left school in 1999. and previous to that not once did i feel fear when walking through the school gates. and not once when taking exams. - as for comparing the whole thing to Nazi Germany is over the top. you clearly dont understand what Nazi Germany was and as a teacher i thought you'd be able to express yourself better.

as for children telling lies about teachers is believed. well i hope any concern raised by children under the care of a teacher is taken serious and investigated. regardless if its a lie or not.

personally after reading the whole of your post, you seemed to have been in the wrong job for 30 years. fearful of everything, fearful of change, fearful of technology which is the future how many children now having access to mobile phones, tablets. laptops etc.. you either keep ahead of the times or be left behind. and its clear you were left behind, through fear of using modern technology.

It also seems to me you were unable to control your classes and this was down to your aura being emitted. your post is to highlight the education system and the FEAR. yet the FEAR is not the system but you. - when i was in school we knew who the soft touch teachers were, the ones who were weak. we had a French teacher who sounds like you, who never had the ability to control a class room. and the class seized upon it, we had a History and Craft/Technology teachers who never lost control, you knew who was in charge. brilliant teachers. emitting auras of confidence and ability. - trouble is over the last decades the education system as been filled with weak, social worker type teachers. who dont have the ability to take on the inner city pupils and the background they are exposed to. in my time the teachers i liked where the strong authoritative teachers. the other teachers who clearly were out of their depth. the weak teachers who worked and lived in FEAR. were good for no-one and are better out of the way. - i hope you've retired. and i wish you well controlling your anxiety, depression and fear.

Film based on school in Liverpool shot in Liverpool. 'OUR DAY OUT' by Willie Russell.


Edited by stevewinn, 17 March 2013 - 10:34 AM.

Posted Image

British by Birth - English by the Grace of God

#3    spud the mackem

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:03 AM

Good post Steve, I guess its a question of mind control, I studied several books on human behaviour,an found through experience that you can tell how a person is going to react,by watching their behaviour,so that now I can judge what they intend to do,and in my ex-job by questioning people you could tell how they were going to react within a short time,and whether they were telling the truth.If they got agressive you switched your tactics to another method of approach, until you knew whether they were guilty or innocent,and then you either arrested them or let them go,but the majority were arrested.I reckon kids are the same,and its how they are treated,will determine whether they are good or bad, if bad you can take steps to alter their way of thinking,so thats where mind control comes in.Make them aware of right and wrong.

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#4    cultanorak

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 05:41 PM

The culture in the UK is based on fear, bullying, snobbery, hypocrisy and double standards probably because of the class system but I do understand what the person who started the topic is talking about. As a country England is becoming increasingly reactionary and intolerant even beneath the façade of a seemingly progressive society. This is probably because we have a right wing government in power who are dismantling the NHS and the welfare state for ideological reasons disguised as deficit reduction and using their fully paid up media to stir up hatred toward anyone on benefits or anyone who doesn't conform to the double standards of a faceless middle class society.

Also the national identity of England has been eroded over several generations and the indigenous working class have been deliberately marginalised and denigrated while the country has allowed an influx of successive wave after wave of immigrants which have has increased social tensions in the overtly capitalist society we live in now over competition for employment.

Also I see an increasing social fascism among middle and lower middle class people who like to credit themselves with being hard working taxpayers just because they've had the opportunities which have been denied to others. This section of society seem to look down on anyone who is on benefits or anyone who doesn't conform to their narrow minded social darwinistic outlook on life.

We have always hated and looked down on our own in this country.

Edited by yearofthehater, 17 March 2013 - 06:07 PM.


#5    Yes_Man

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 05:55 PM

View Postyearofthehater, on 17 March 2013 - 05:41 PM, said:

The culture in the UK is based on fear, bullying, snobbery, hypocrisy and double standards probably because of the class system but I do understand what the person who started the topic is talking about. As a country England is becoming increasingly reactionary and intolerant even beneath the façade of a seemingly progressive society. This is probably because with have a right wing government in power who are dismantling the NHS and the welfare state for ideological reasons disguised as deficit reduction and using their fully paid up media to stir up hatred toward anyone on benefits or anyone who doesn't conform to the double standards of a faceless middle class society.

Also the national identity of England has been eroded over several generations and the indigenous working class have been deliberately marginalised and denigrated while the country has allowed an influx of successive wave after wave of immigrants which have has increased social tensions in the overtly capitalist society we live in now over competition for employment.

Also I see an increasing social fascism among middle and lower middle class people who like to credit themselves with being hard working taxpayers just because they've had the opportunities which have been denied to others. This section of society seem to look down on anyone who is on benefits or anyone who doesn't conform to their narrow minded social darwinistic outlook on life.

We have always hated and looked down on our own in this country.
I think the OP is on about or wants to think about is "Mind control" check out the free internet thread and you see what  i mean


#6    Purplos

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 05:58 PM

I read your post and can see that it could be true, but it seems to me that these types of fear pervade all aspects of society. The kids on the corner or in the park could knife someone just as easily as someone in the classroom. Neighbors or coworkers could 'rat you out' to police or your boss if they don't like you. It's not just schools.

Whether you live in fear or not is really up to you though.

Embrace the impossible.

#7    spud the mackem

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:08 PM

I Fear No Man, its the Women I'm worried about......hhhhheeeeeellllllllpppppp !

(1) try your best, ............if that dont work.
(2) try your second best, ........if that dont work
(3) give up you aint gonna win

#8    Render

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:02 AM

i thought you worked in the field of physics, panto?
Now you were a teacher for, forever. And then you had a fleeting moment of being a life coach to a teacher.

And now your a forum preacher, teaching everyone about how fear dominates your life.
Ever stopped and think YOU are the only one afraid here? Probably not eh.

Your thinking seems so always stop at an early point panto.
Your thought process goes: this thing makes me feel this certain way STOP ... soooooo everyone must now feel like this

actual reasoning goes like this :
"this thing makes me feel a certain way .. soooo i will now think about why it makes me feel this way and realise that other people are different and don't have to be like me because they might actually be able to think things through even further"

Edited by Render, 18 March 2013 - 06:04 AM.


#9    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:04 AM

View Postpantodragon, on 16 March 2013 - 04:51 PM, said:

Some of the most recent technology to be introduced in schools is interactive white boards (replacing low-tech whiteboards and felt-tip pens).
then frankly you were using it wrong.
An IWB is the greatest teaching tool since the on-site library and over-head projector. You want to show them a video as an example of a topic? It's at hand.
You want them to copy out something? Write it the night/week before hand and pull it up when you need it.
You want them to play an education game? Voila.
The bloody things have more uses then a hoola-hoop.

I must not fear. Fear is the Mind-Killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and to move through me. And when it is gone I will turn the inner eye to see it's path.
When the fear is gone, there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

#10    pantodragon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:24 PM

View Poststevewinn, on 17 March 2013 - 10:29 AM, said:

what are you going on about. i left school in 1999. and previous to that not once did i feel fear when walking through the school gates. and not once when taking exams. - as for comparing the whole thing to Nazi Germany is over the top. you clearly dont understand what Nazi Germany was and as a teacher i thought you'd be able to express yourself better.

as for children telling lies about teachers is believed. well i hope any concern raised by children under the care of a teacher is taken serious and investigated. regardless if its a lie or not.

personally after reading the whole of your post, you seemed to have been in the wrong job for 30 years. fearful of everything, fearful of change, fearful of technology which is the future how many children now having access to mobile phones, tablets. laptops etc.. you either keep ahead of the times or be left behind. and its clear you were left behind, through fear of using modern technology.



Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear -- this is SO predictable, and it's just as wrong as it is predictable. You dispaly a spectacular lack of awareness of what is going on around you. Play a mean pinball, do you?!!!   The alternative explanation is less charitable: that you were one one of the real horrors, the real bullies, who created the fear but, true to type, you always divert attention and accuse those who experience this fear as being weak, as having "personality problems".  What a nightmare you must have been to teach.


#11    Moon Gazer

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:55 PM

I'm not sure I really follow and agree with your post.


I can only comment on personal experience but my children do not fear going to school.  They are 4 and 6 yrs old and they love it.  The teachers are great and yes I am sure they have to keep very close eyes on the kids, but is this through FEAR?  or just a concern and part of their job?

The teachers and kids enjoy the IT classes (which of course is just basic at their age) but things like kids getting electrocuted.... well that is just basic health and safety.  And while I am sure teacher would quite rightly be concerned, I am not sure they spend their time at work in fear of a child being electrocuted.


#12    ExpandMyMind

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:13 PM

View Poststevewinn, on 17 March 2013 - 10:29 AM, said:

what are you going on about. i left school in 1999. and previous to that not once did i feel fear when walking through the school gates. and not once when taking exams. - as for comparing the whole thing to Nazi Germany is over the top. you clearly dont understand what Nazi Germany was and as a teacher i thought you'd be able to express yourself better.

as for children telling lies about teachers is believed. well i hope any concern raised by children under the care of a teacher is taken serious and investigated. regardless if its a lie or not.

personally after reading the whole of your post, you seemed to have been in the wrong job for 30 years. fearful of everything, fearful of change, fearful of technology which is the future how many children now having access to mobile phones, tablets. laptops etc.. you either keep ahead of the times or be left behind. and its clear you were left behind, through fear of using modern technology.

It also seems to me you were unable to control your classes and this was down to your aura being emitted. your post is to highlight the education system and the FEAR. yet the FEAR is not the system but you. - when i was in school we knew who the soft touch teachers were, the ones who were weak. we had a French teacher who sounds like you, who never had the ability to control a class room. and the class seized upon it, we had a History and Craft/Technology teachers who never lost control, you knew who was in charge. brilliant teachers. emitting auras of confidence and ability. - trouble is over the last decades the education system as been filled with weak, social worker type teachers. who dont have the ability to take on the inner city pupils and the background they are exposed to. in my time the teachers i liked where the strong authoritative teachers. the other teachers who clearly were out of their depth. the weak teachers who worked and lived in FEAR. were good for no-one and are better out of the way. - i hope you've retired. and i wish you well controlling your anxiety, depression and fear.

Film based on school in Liverpool shot in Liverpool. 'OUR DAY OUT' by Willie Russell.


Amazing post :tu:


#13    ealdwita

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:32 PM

Judging by your posts, pantodragon, I believe you may have a great future marketing the honey from the enormous bee that seems to be living in your bonnet! First it was the farmers, then comedians, now it's the teachers that come under your artillery fire! Is there no one in your world (other than your self, of course) that doesn't deserve to be burned at the stake? I have read all your opinions of what is wrong with modern society, now I look forward to reading your proposals for reform.

As an ex-educator myself, I'm deeply grateful that you weren't involved in the teaching of my children!

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind; I can trick you into learning with a laugh; Oh, winnow all my folly and you'll find, A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
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#14    pantodragon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:37 PM

View Postealdwita, on 18 March 2013 - 04:32 PM, said:

I have read all your opinions of what is wrong with modern society, now I look forward to reading your proposals for reform.



I'm all right, Jack ---  that's the reward for being healthy.   But if you want to know what needs to be done to reform society, read my post How Power Corrupts, then do cold turkey.


#15    ealdwita

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:29 PM

View Postpantodragon, on 18 March 2013 - 04:37 PM, said:

I'm all right, Jack ---  that's the reward for being healthy.   But if you want to know what needs to be done to reform society, read my post How Power Corrupts, then do cold turkey.
Posted Image

OK.. I've read it again, but it still reads like some kind of obsessive outpouring of quasi-Luddite ramblings. I'm not technology's greatest fan, but I don't believe your strange vision of a Socialist 'everybody-must-have-prizes' Utopia, combined with a return to Dame schools complete with chalk and slates, is feasible at any level!

That'll be the termination of my involvement on this subject as I believe it to be pointless to continue. I must be extra thick today because your premise makes no sense to me - neither by subject nor resolutions. Sorry........

"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnáwan þín gefá!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind; I can trick you into learning with a laugh; Oh, winnow all my folly and you'll find, A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
(The Yeoman of the Guard ~ Gilbert and Sullivan)




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