Matt’s Take: The British Education System and Why I Disagree With It

Hi readers.
This post isn’t going to be like my usual content, I’m not going to attempt to joke about anything because I think the topic itself is a joke. I feel strongly about this topic and I’m going to do my best to explain why.

Okay, so there’s many problems with pretty much every education system in the world but, today, I want to focus on the British Education System because that’s the one I know and have experienced first hand.

For those who don’t know, the Education System in Britain is divided up into 5 Key Stages as part of the National Curriculum; Key stage 1 is between the ages of 5-7 years, Key Stage 2 is 8-11 years old, Key Stage 3 is 12-14 years old, Key Stage 4 is 15-16 years old and Key Stage 5 is 17-18 years old.

With the exception of Key Stage 5, all of those years are compulsory for all children living in the United Kingdom, however I should point out that those living in Northern Ireland have a different Curriculum to those living in England and Wales. However Scotland has no statutory curriculum as such, instead it has guidelines for the education of it’s pupils at different stages that are monitored by HM Inspectors.
England and Wales share the same National Curriculum that was introduced in 1988. This is a curriculum that all state schools within England and Wales must follow as a framework for their education, however, independent schools need not follow this curriculum, so long as they can show they provide a well rounded system of education, that is inspected every few years.
I’ll leave links for more info on the various Curriculum throughout the UK at the end of this post, or it will get far too long if I go into exquisite detail.

Now that’s the basic structure but now let’s go into the important part of it all. What are we taught?
And just to clarify, I’m not going to be talking about Maths, English or Science in this post, this is more about the way the education system attempts to mould it’s upcoming generations in a way that they see fit.
So here’s my biggest issue with the British Education System, it tries to teach all of us to conform to what our current society expects from us rather than to look at the world and decide for ourselves what we think we should do. It teaches us to choose a life that society wants us to live instead of how we want to.
All those little silly things in school that you pay no attention to because you think that’s just how things should be, like school uniforms, raising your hand to speak, don’t talk when the teacher’s talking, and don’t answer back etc. All those things are telling us to look a certain way, act a certain way and speak a certain way.
There is no freedom.
I also would like to make the point that our country is so hypocritical. How dare this country claim to be striving for equality when teachers and pupils are not given the same rights in school, why must it be that the pupil must listen to the teacher but the teacher has the choice. Some teachers are brilliant, this is not an attack on them. Some will listen to their students and acknowledge that we can have an opinion and we can make observations on the way they teach, what they teach and whether we agree with what they teach. However some teachers are terrible, they ignore their students, are ignorant to the fact that we are equal to them and have severe issues with pupils even attempting to put forward opinions that differ from their own.
We’re not taught to do what we think is right in school, we’re taught to do what society thinks is right. We’re living in a world where people work their arses off because that’s what everyone expects from them. I’m not saying that people don’t work because they want to because some people do. But some just work in a job they hate because that’s what they’ve been programmed to do. I think the question we need to be asking about anything and everything is, Why?
That is the key question, you know how kids of a very young age will always question every answer you give with why? Well that’s what adults need to do too. If we did that, I guarantee the majority of people would realise how the world teaches us not to be happy but instead to do all these other things to try and achieve happiness.
I used to ‘want’ to be a teacher, I was adamant that was my dream job and that, that was what would make me happy in this life. Then I went to college. You know what happened? I was utterly destroyed, I was dragged down to the darkest depths of despair and I was damaged, broken and shattered. I was miserable, and I found myself questioning why I was there at all. I had a moment where I thought, “Is this what I want to do?” and the answer was no. The illusion that I had created of wanting to go into a career of teaching was ripped from in front of my eyes and I saw what I really wanted. I rediscovered my 10 year old self who would sit in class, looking out the window, dreaming of writing for the rest of his days and I felt the weight of the world leave my shoulders.
It was such an important moment that changed how I viewed the world, it took some time but because of that realisation I’m happy. There’s genuinely not a day that goes by where I don’t smile at least once.
I loved school, I really did but looking back on it now I see the flaws, the constraints that are placed on our future generations and the fact that our world cannot change for the better while this system is in place.
I realise this opinion is controversial and may not be the most popular but it’s what I believe and that is something worth more than anything. Having your own beliefs.

Thanks for reading, I’m sorry if I bored you with this, normal service will resume soon.

Info on the British Education System:
Info on Scotland’s System:


2 thoughts on “Matt’s Take: The British Education System and Why I Disagree With It

  1. You have a lovely blog. I like your poetry, especially the one on first love, which I’m sure John Clare wouldn’t have thought inferior. Keep it up!
    I’ve always been curious about the British school education system. I live in India, and studied under the ICSE board, which was initially, slightly based on the GCSE, but now has gone off in its own direction. I understand that education offered at all levels in Britain is expensive, which is of course, very difficult for a lot of people to afford. Also, I suppose, the quality of education doesn’t always equate the price for it, but that is something that happens everywhere.
    I went to an expensive private school, which I’m not trying to brag about, but your post made me realise that most of the behaviours you described were also things we were made to do, and we could never question them. The school I went to, during my middle and high school years, always gave us a chance to explain ourselves if we did something wrong, which is incredible for any school to do, really. Teachers being respectful of students is definitely a personal, individual thing, one that I don’t think will change anytime soon.

    • Thank you for your comment, and I appreciate the compliments for my blog, thank you very much. And actually, one of the good things about our state schools is that they offer free education to their pupils, of course the cost of uniforms, bags and equipment isn’t included in that but the education itself is free and is payed for through taxes via the government. However if you look at our MP’s you’ll notice that very few, if any, actually attended a state school, the majority attended independent schools, which are very expensive to attend indeed. I personally think that’s part of the problem, that we have no-one in power who actually understands the system that the majority of the country go through and I don’t pretend to know the first thing about politics but to me that seems wrong that we are governed by people who have virtually no touch with the actual realities of the country they run. And I do fear your comment about teachers respecting their students is a individual thing is correct and I agree it’s unlikely to change soon.

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