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The reality of the UK education system


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#16    itsnotoutthere

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:20 PM

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

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.

Wow, sounds like you had a hard time as a teacher. Perhaps you should have chosen a different career path, something a little lass stressful perhaps.

p.s. My daughter is a teacher & she describes her job as enjoyable, fun & fulfilling.

Edited by itsnotoutthere, 18 March 2013 - 07:31 PM.

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#17    Sweetpumper

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:31 PM

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

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!

Don't forget business! All businessmen should be burned also.

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#18    Finity

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

UK education is terrible. My sister is a teacher and is changing careers because it's a lost cause. There is no longer any discipline in schools because they are not allowed to discipline the kids any more. So by the time it comes to the end half of them are less employable than a trained chimp.

You only have to look at most of the idiotic teenagers, glued to their mobile phones and don't even know where beef comes from (yes I actually saw some teenagers who didn't know where beef came from) to see the future.

Edited by Finity, 19 March 2013 - 09:47 PM.


#19    Render

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:53 PM

View PostFinity, on 19 March 2013 - 09:44 PM, said:

yes I actually saw some teenagers who didn't know where beef came from

Then their teachers definitely failed them. Sad really.


#20    Yes_Man

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:04 PM

View PostFinity, on 19 March 2013 - 09:44 PM, said:

UK education is terrible. My sister is a teacher and is changing careers because it's a lost cause. There is no longer any discipline in schools because they are not allowed to discipline the kids any more. So by the time it comes to the end half of them are less employable than a trained chimp.

You only have to look at most of the idiotic teenagers, glued to their mobile phones and don't even know where beef comes from (yes I actually saw some teenagers who didn't know where beef came from) to see the future.
Poor teaching


#21    Professor Buzzkill

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:06 PM

View PostThe New Richard Nixon, on 19 March 2013 - 10:04 PM, said:

Poor teaching

Did your teacher have to tell you where beef came from? Or did your parents mention it to you when you were, i don't know, 2 or 3 years old?


#22    Yes_Man

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:11 PM

View PostProfessor Buzzkill, on 19 March 2013 - 10:06 PM, said:

Did your teacher have to tell you where beef came from? Or did your parents mention it to you when you were, i don't know, 2 or 3 years old?
its a teachers job to teach. if a teacher cant handle a class, then whats the point of teaching?


#23    Professor Buzzkill

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:20 PM

View PostThe New Richard Nixon, on 19 March 2013 - 10:11 PM, said:

its a teachers job to teach. if a teacher cant handle a class, then whats the point of teaching?

Do you ever wonder why teachers are only now not able to "handle" their class?

If your hands are tied, you cannot swim.


#24    Render

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

View PostProfessor Buzzkill, on 19 March 2013 - 10:20 PM, said:

Do you ever wonder why teachers are only now not able to "handle" their class?

If your hands are tied, you cannot swim.

Maybe teachers should get some extra education themselves instead of acting like their hands are tied. Lazy.


#25    Professor Buzzkill

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:51 PM

View PostRender, on 19 March 2013 - 10:43 PM, said:

Maybe teachers should get some extra education themselves instead of acting like their hands are tied. Lazy.

Yeah, its the teacher fault that the students cannot control themselves. If the teacher had just been a better teacher, with more education, that kid wouldn't have called her a "stupid b*tch" and thrown a chair at her. (one mild example from the UK)

Can you imagine the reaction if you said this to a teacher 100 years ago? The most underpaid profession, with the greatest responsibility for our future and you are blaming them because your kid cannot control his aggression and temper. A basic knowledge of things should start at home. My three year old knows where beef comes from


Edit. I do not mean your kid Render. I am sure (if you have kids) you would be an good parent.

Edited by Professor Buzzkill, 19 March 2013 - 11:54 PM.


#26    Oscar77

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:31 AM

The main problem teachers have is kids with a lack of discipline at home.
If a child isn't brought up to respect authorite at home then how do you expect the teacher to teach them?
My daughter is 10 and knows that when she is told to do something by a teacher she listens.

Edited by Oscar77, 20 March 2013 - 12:31 AM.


#27    Professor Buzzkill

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:34 AM

View PostOscar77, on 20 March 2013 - 12:31 AM, said:

The main problem teachers have is kids with a lack of discipline at home.
If a child isn't brought up to respect authorite at home then how do you expect the teacher to teach them?
My daughter is 10 and knows that when she is told to do something by a teacher she listens.

And the flip side of this is that the child complains about the teacher to the parents who immediately take the childs side. Even 30 years ago you wouldn't tell your parents that a teacher yelled at you or hit you, else you might find yourself being yelled at or hit again.


#28    Oscar77

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:49 AM

View PostProfessor Buzzkill, on 20 March 2013 - 12:34 AM, said:

And the flip side of this is that the child complains about the teacher to the parents who immediately take the childs side. Even 30 years ago you wouldn't tell your parents that a teacher yelled at you or hit you, else you might find yourself being yelled at or hit again.

I know what you mean,My daughter is being bullied by one such child.
I have heard her mother shouting and screaming at her teacher for punishing her for it!
the sad thing is that if she wanted to my daughter could very quickly stop the bullying her self but knows if she stands up for herself she is breaking the school rules so she wont do it.


#29    ExpandMyMind

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:30 AM

View PostOscar77, on 20 March 2013 - 12:49 AM, said:

I know what you mean,My daughter is being bullied by one such child.
I have heard her mother shouting and screaming at her teacher for punishing her for it!
the sad thing is that if she wanted to my daughter could very quickly stop the bullying her self but knows if she stands up for herself she is breaking the school rules so she wont do it.

I don't think the problem is with teachers at all, it is with parents. Yeah, some teachers give off a certain weakness which can be preyed upon by badly behaved kids, but it is the lack of discipline in the home with no deterrence to bad behaviour that is the problem.

For cases like yours (in fact for all bullying cases), I believe the parents should be charged with the crimes of their children, with serious consequences for repeat offenders. That would sort out the parenting, quick-style. And in most cases it would sort out bullying as well.


#30    pantodragon

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

View Postspud the mackem, on 17 March 2013 - 11:03 AM, said:



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.

You sound like you were, or are, a policeman.  I have had experience of these tactics used by policemen, and I can say that they are very unpleasant.  They are aggressive, intimidating, coercive, deceiving: they are trying to trick, trap, induce a confession --- and these tactics will get a confession from an angel.  When I was subject to them, on one occasion I was actually the one reporting a theft and on another occasion I was a possible suspect, but was struck off their list after one interview.  What it left me feeling was that I’d rather have nothing to do with the police, even if I was being stalked by a potential murderer --- I just have the feeling that in that latter situation, they’d end up twisting things around so much that I’d end up being the suspect in the dock with the murderer going off happily to do it to someone else.

So, in spite of all your books, you did not really learn to get the truth from people.  You just learned to frighten a lie out of them.  And incidentally, I’ve seen teachers use those tactics with pupils/staff --- very nasty.

View PostPurplos, on 17 March 2013 - 05:58 PM, said:



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

Do you have a switch you can throw, then?  Something that switches the fear off when you choose?





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