According to a report by the BBC and the results from the latest Pisa tests, the UK is falling behind global rivals in international tests taken by 15 year olds, failing to make the top 20 in maths, reading and science, and currently being ranked 26 in the world!
The Pisa tests (Programme for International Student Assessment) have become widely recognised as the most influential rankings in international education, testing up to 500,000 15 year old pupils in maths, reading and science in 65 countries.
The Pisa test has been challenged, and it's validity and realiabilty questioned. While young adults complete an on-line test Head teachers complete an 'in-house' questionnaire. This will always results in bias towards their own schools and pupils.
Tutor House believes that working with schools, especially those in the state sector, and not against them is key. We've noticed a real lack of aspiration from UK students, especially in the state schools that we've worked with. Children and young adults need to be inspired to achieve, not be spoon fed through exam periods.
Schools are only trying to achieve (some would say unattainable) targets, and match statistics year on year. That's not to suggest that the fault is with state school students, teachers and headmasters or headmistresses - not at all. Due to the current UK education structure; state, private schools and educational institutions have become results-driven exam machines, almost forced to completely focus on achieving a quota of results instead of working with each individual student. And to be fair in a class of 30 children, how can you work on an individual basis?
A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development suggested that UK students are much more likely to skip school (up to 25%) than those in the top performing countries, such as China. Unfortunately, children from lower socio-economic backgrounds in the UK seem to almost accept that they can't move up the social mobility ladder, which seemingly affects their exam results and potential successes - and this is just one example.
We've been cornered into this exam culture, especially for GCSE English, Maths and Science, where the importance of exam results and success are put ahead of knowledge and the individual student. You don't pass a school where a banner reads 'knowledge and inspiration served here,' it reads '100% A-C grade - best ever results!'
Schools, colleges and institutions absolutely need results, and because everything is based on exam statistics. If result quotas are not achieved, the schools are forced into academy status, and/or are downgraded by OFSTED.
There also seems to be a real lack of respect for the teaching profession in the UK, unlike other leading countries, such as China, Korea and Singapore, where students aspire to become teachers, and as a consequence are a highly respected profession in society.
An example is the celebrety lifestyles of the tutor 'Kings and Queens' in Hong Kong. Where tutors are worshiped, their faces plastered on city buses, while they stop to sign autograph's. Imagin that here, in the UK! Never! Whether a tutor, trainer or teacher, you don't get that respect and that unfortunatley is a cutural and social problem.
When comparing UK students to students in Asian countries such as China and Singapore, we can see these leading countries place huge importance on the value of education, which is just not replicated to the same degree in the UK.