Tutors International, global provider of full-time private tutoring, today published an article that claims that the continuing battle between dumbing down standards at the top and pushiness from parents at the bottom of the education puts our children in an unfair situation.
Adam Caller, educational consultant and founder of world-leading full-time private tuition agency, Tutors International, today published an article  in which he argues that the UK must stop trying to enforce a top-down approach to raising academic standards, as we’re failing our children by not preparing them for the next stage of their academic development.
Mr Caller stated that “it’s our job as parents and as educators to push our children to the best of their ability and to equip them with the tools they need to succeed in the next stage of their development. We can’t push them to succeed simply at intervals or to pass the next exam. They need better education right from the start.”
The grammar school system is a hot topic at the moment, with some claiming it represents an unfair class divide and prevents social mobility, and those who believe it represents the last vestige of the excellent standard of education that the country is world-renowned for.
A recent BBC article reports that Knole Academy in Kent has created its own ‘grammar stream’ that employs the rigours and depth of grammar school teaching for a particular stream of pupils at the school. The head teacher Mary Boyle says the grammar stream pupils are aiming for top universities like Oxford and Cambridge.
This example, and the pressure on top state schools and grammar schools, indicates that parents want a better standard of education for their children. While many feel that the social gap is widening, there is extra pressure on top universities to admit more pupils from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’.
Mr Caller comments, “It’s wrong for this country to try to enforce a top-down approach to raising academic standards. We tried modularising GCSEs, but that failed to prepare students for A-Levels. Now we’re dumbing down university courses to accommodate lower expectations at A-Level, and we’re pushing children to compete in the 11+ when they’ve been unprepared for it at primary school – this is the wrong approach.”
Mr Caller believes that raising academic standards needs to happen at every age, at the same time, driven from the ground up. He likens the process to a bicycle chain:
“You can’t increase the speed in just one part of the chain. If you try that it puts a huge strain on the other links and they’ll buckle or snap. Everything needs to speed up together. The government is finding the same problem in schools – it’s very easy to slow the whole system down; it’s very hard to speed it up again.”
There is some merit in the grammar stream approach taken by Knole Academy, as we can’t argue against the fact that we need to provide a more rigorous standard of education in this country, and that grouping children by a narrow academic ability leads to by far the best results for each pupil in that group; but it’s not enough to do it in one school, and it’s not starting early enough in the chain, concluded Mr Caller.
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