With the new Parliamentary term in session and the spotlight on Theresa May’s every move, the idea of allowing schools to transition into grammar schools has certainly caused a stir. Considering Theresa’s portfolio (Shadow Education Secretary in the late 90’s/ early 00’s), this one’s probably been on the shelf for some time – after all, I don’t think there’s an expiry date on this reform.
Having attended private school until I was 16 years old, eventually moving to comprehensive for my A Levels, I was surprised with the standards at the comprehensive school (and a little taken aback!). I remember the 11+ and I think that it’s good for students to face this pressure from a young age.
Why did I move schools? Personal reasons mostly – in some ways, it was my teenage rebellion (my parents weren’t so pleased to begin with!) I was ready to burst the bubble of spoon-fed children (which was a perfectly comfortable place for most of my childhood). I’ve always been a mature person, but at 15 years old, the materialistic cycle of life began to mean nothing and I needed an escape socially. I needed a change and securing a place at a competitive comprehensive Sixth Form was the best move.
It gave me a bit of a personal kick and since then, I’ve never looked back, not even for a single day. Looking back, I think it was my first real-life decision, and one of the best.
But this isn’t all about my experience – the real issue is ensuring the standards of education and teaching are uniform, high and our classrooms filled with inspiring and supportive teachers, ready to encourage the next generation of Great Britain. And once they leave school, giving them enough drive and motivation to take on the world, and all the consequent tests which follow.
Another incoming challenge is ensuring there are enough school places available with our growing population. Reforming education is a continuous process – how do we meet these demands? A previous challenge was integrating school children from different backgrounds – whilst this continues to be a problem, it’s improved over the years and I certainly think our schooling system is now more welcome and open for children of all backgrounds.
There’s a lots to do, and more to come, but I think it’s fair to conclude that focussing on education reforms is a positive way to begin the Parliamentary term – and I certainly back improvements on our education system.