The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Utopian World Part 5

OK, and back to our regular programming now Xmas is over, here, especially for Dave, who keeps nagging me aboput it, here is Education.....

Before I start, let me say I am assuming that I have taken over supreme dictatorship of England., and this is how I would change the education system. I am no way qualified to set up a new system from scratch, and the point of my utopian world is to yell at news reporters "but it's OBVIOUS what you should do" whenever they tell me how the country is falling apart at the seams:-)

National Curriculum
We have a national curriculum. It is flexible in teaching methods & timings, but there are specific subjects that must be learned to a set level by a set age. Parents have the right to know that their child will be taught the same in rural Devon as the children in Chelsea. Teachers need to know what their targets are. Children should be able to transfer schools without too much difficulty.

Selection & Choice
You have no choice of state school. you will be allocated a place at the closest one, unless you apply for an alternative with a damn good reason. "I like it better" is not a good reason. "all her brothers & sisters go there" is. However, schools inspectors are well funded, and schools must reach good standards each year, so every school will be offering a good education to every child. If a school is failing, more money will be available to assist with specific failings. Therefore, yes, a school in inner city Liverpool may well get lots more money than schools in suburban York, but specifically targeted at behavioural & social issues. Of course my fantastic parenting policy means there will not be so many of these in the first place:-)

There are private schools. They also have to follow the basic national curriculum, but may add in alternative subjects/principles. No state school will be faith based. If you think you can't teach them your faith at home, you have to pay your own bunch to do it for you. Comparitive religion is part of the basic national curriculum.

Secondary schools may operate a selection policy within individual subjects, where they feel it would be suitable.

Staff & Subjects
Primary schools have two qualified teachers per class, allowing for individual working & assessment where necessary & ensuring continuity for the children, less stress for the teachers, and a back-up for any problems.

There will be at least one "special needs" primary school in each constituency. It should be on the same site as a standard state school, sharing resources, teachers & facilities. this will allow integration where possible & suitable, and differentiation when necessary.

Secondary schools teach practical subjects as well as academic ones. Children chose options at 11 & 13, and should be offered the chance to do all academic, all vocational or a mix of subjects in every schools.

School Leaving Age & Further Education
Full time education is compulsory up to the age of 18.

At 15, children chose to either continue in their school, attend a specialist college, or join an apprenticeship scheme. Specialist colleges offer vocational qualifications in the many subjects that need specialis knowledge by tutors & workers - nursing, sport, IT etc. Apprenticeships are in practical skills - plumbing, electricians, building etc. School offers generic qualifications - maths, art, Biology etc

At 18, it is expected only 25-33% would attend University. I do not believe we should be sending everyone to uni, it belittles the value of a degree & is not suitable for most people: academic study is nothing to gloat over, the ability to build a house is far more useful most of the time. The specialist colleges also offer further qualifications, so many more students will remain in eductaion past minimum leaving age. Most apprenticeships last 5-7 years, so they will all still be in education too.

Money Matters
ALL full time education is free. Grants are minimal, but available to all. You can claim housing benifit while at university, so grants only need to cover living expences. this is paid for by saving a fortune on pre-school eductions, as the employers bear the brunt of that cost, and my high income tax, which may be mentioned in another post some time.

I am sure I have missed out some very important facts. if you want clarification, please feel free to ask in the comments & I'll try to add it in.

If you have missed the previous installments, you can find them below:
My Utopian World Part 1 - Introduction, Freight & Drugs
My Utopian World Part 2 - Immigration & Welfare
My Utopian World Part 3 -Childcare & Parenting
My Utopian World Part 4 - Crime & Punishment


  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 8:54:00 pm, Blogger Aginoth said…

    What about Including national Service in your education policy.
    at 18 you have a choice...1 Year in the Armed Forces or 1 Year in the Social and Community Workforce, the wages for both would be assured to be a good wage to allow those who wish do so to save for life at university.

    Those who return to there vocational apprenticeships would then be paid in there chosen profession from that point on.

    This would be before University, and for those part way through a vocational apprenticeship it would be a year in the community to put your growing skills base to good use.

    I know you probably won't like it dear :o)

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:05:00 pm, Blogger Dave said…

    Interesting but a bit pricey! I especially like the 'School Leaving Age & Further Education' bit .

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:07:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Guess what? Not in my utopia!

    no national service. Not in the army, not elsewhere - that's what my "community Works Service" is there to solve.

    Volunteering is a good & rewarding thing to do. "Gap" years are encouraged, but not enforced.

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:11:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    What price education? It is the future of the country we're talking about here! It should be a pretty big lump of the national budget - more that defence, certainly.

    There's an argument for another day:-)

    Plus I've nationalised loads of stuff - I get all the money from all the patents that all those well educated people invent.

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:40:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Amazingly I agree with almost every word you said on this issue..

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:53:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Oh CK, do mean to say you don't usually? I'm crushed:-)

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 9:59:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A said: Oh CK, do mean to say you don't usually? I'm crushed:-)


    Mostly... But not always..... though probably just on the details.... So far..............

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 10:15:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    You know you're supposed to argue!

    These posts are designed to open debate & scathing rebuttals:-)

    Then I get to jump on my hobby horse for much longer *grin*

  • At Thursday, January 05, 2006 11:02:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A said: You know you're supposed to argue!

    You'll have to try harder to be controversal then.... (grin)

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 8:02:00 am, Blogger ivoryfrog said…

    I love these posts Mrs A! I agree with it all so sorry no debate from me. :-)
    Thanks for visiting my blog...I used to have an Avent breastpump with DD#1 but got rid of it. :-( There was nothing wrong with it we just didn't need it anymore. (didn't know we were going to have another baby then) But yes, the avent one is so much better than the tommee tippee one - I wish I had just got another avent one...
    Take care!

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 11:16:00 am, Anonymous Ivy said…

    Sounds fascinating. Here via Michele today! Hope you have a great day!

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 12:09:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A said: No state school will be faith based.

    As you like a bit of debate... I have to say that I disagree with this statement quite strongly.

    I don't think that there should be ANY faith schools - paid for out of State funds or otherwise. There certainly wouldn't be in MY Utopia.... (bg)

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 4:02:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    CK, you need to brush up on your history:-) Religion can not be forcably removed from a society. remember, this is here, tomorrow. People believe all sorts of things, and I think they have the right to do so, as long as it doesn't impact on anyone else.

    It's not encouraged in my utopia, hence no faith schols funded by the state, but neither is it repressed. I am sure that over time, most people will leave such things behind them - and the requirement to teach basic science, comparitive religion & research methods in my national curriculum will ensure they are able to. but if you force religion underground, then it only gets stronger - look at the history books, this has been proven time & again, across the world. Then look at our society - almost a theocracy in most legal & hierarchial ways, but a ridiculously low religious quota. Nobody cares enough about their religion's "place" in society enough to hang on outdated belief systems & ideas.

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 4:39:00 pm, Blogger CyberKitten said…

    Mrs A said: Religion can not be forcably removed from a society.

    That's not really what I was getting at. I just don't think that religion has any place in the education of children - certainly not as indoctrination in an educational establishment....

    ..and you did want me to start a debate.... (grin)

    ..and yes... I'm aware of History.... I've a Catholic background...

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 7:04:00 pm, Blogger Pieces of Me said…

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend...I am here from Michele's!! TTYL

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 7:13:00 pm, Blogger Prego said…

    I can't help but think that there's a little bit of "wouldn't it be cool if this was real money going on in your grand scheme. Particularly with putting two qualified teachers in the classroom. As an educator, it seems that most teachers want to work in the suburban districts, leaving the urban kids (with or without your creepy parental plan) to flounder with teachers that might not be successful elsewhere, dedicated stalwarts like myself or short on teachers altogether.

    Also, the phrase "the value of an education is nothing to gloat over" might be lost on somebody who has no concepts of what an education actually is... which leads to the perpetuity of poverty, ergo classism. But hey, at least there'll be an endless supply of garbage men.

    Thanks for the brain fodder.


    here via michele today

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 7:14:00 pm, Blogger Lazy Daisy said…

    Michele sent me....I'll read the rest of your installments later..

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 7:19:00 pm, Blogger Prego said…

    Oh... I forgot to put in the :) :0 :* things to clarify that I am not being judgmental or antagonistic. Just food for thought and playing devil's advocate.

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 7:41:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Prego - devils advocate is fine. I've done myself often enough:-)

    The money is there if wanted. It's just a matter of priorities. Education has a very high priority in my utopia. Remember I don't give much out in my welfare system, or spend billions on prisons. And I haven't done the defence bit yet:-)

    I meant to say that having an academic mind is nothing to gloat over - we need people who are "academic", but we should value people with practical skills just as highly. Hence the option to follow various educational paths.

    As the first member of my east-end (non)working class family to graduate I am aware of the image/branding question of university. When I attended my only careers advice interview at 14 years old I was told "don't worry about what exams to do, you'll just work in (the local factory) until you're pregnant in a few years anyway". The main barrier to going to uni were a) finding out how to apply, what to say & do etc, and b) the cost. My utopia solves both those.

    I also do not think most teachers want to work in the suburban districts Many people who would like to teach in urban areas either a) can not afford to train (I personally know lots of these) or b) get fed up with low pay, no support & awful facilities. Again I hope I have addressed these issues.

    two qualified teachers would mean we do not need to be quite so hung up on class sizes - although I would nit want them to rise much, there would be flexibility.

  • At Friday, January 06, 2006 8:17:00 pm, Blogger j00|{z said…

    I think art is an important subject most schools don't appreciate enough. Here from Michele's!

  • At Saturday, January 07, 2006 2:28:00 pm, Anonymous smiffykins said…

    hi i agree with most and would be happier to live in your utopia than the currents state of affairs. 2 points. the only of my many schools across the country i wasn't bullied and was challenged academically was a fantastic christian state school. point2. the children in my class in the special needs school wouldn't cope with being on gthe same site as m,ainstream kids and and the other parents wouldn't appreciate their skin art (bruises, cuts, etc.) although i agree in principal for the more able children.

  • At Saturday, January 07, 2006 5:37:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Hi smiffykins - I am quite coinfident that secular schools can manage to be good schools. I know there are many religious school that are very good, and that non-religious parents send their kids to because of their academic/social record, but I don't want them in my utopia:-)

    As for special schools on the same site as mainstream schools, I've seen it work fantastically well. I guess it depends on how special needs the kids are, but if there specific needs that can be addressed by specialist teachers, it's good that there is no stigma to the name of the school & that integration is available for only one or two subjects if pupils can cope with it, or alternatively, special educational needs in one or two subjects can be catered for.


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