Allow our young people to flourish within school and stop teaching them to pass tests.
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I am starting this petition to gain public support for an issue which I believe affects everybody in our society. I would like to join the many people and organisations including the Royal Society of the Arts in encouraging debate and scrutiny of our current education system to decide whether it is fit for purpose.
In the UK, our Primary and Secondary schools are being forced to focus on teaching pupils to pass SATs tests, GCSEs and ‘A’ levels to gain their expected results with a watered down curriculum that concentrates primarily on what is being measured in the tests.
Even the head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman said that schools are using tactics to make their test and exam results look better, including teaching children only what is in the tests to achieve the highest results. At the same time forfeiting the pupils right to an enjoyable rounded education including every subject in the curriculum.
Our young people are being measured by their individual ability to perform in a series of tests over a week or two of their time at school. This approach does not allow for pupils suffering hardship or the many other human emotions and stresses that the everyday modern life can cause.
Project work and coursework is limited so pupils who are not gifted in remembering information for exams may not perform as well as they may do in other forms of assessment. An exam is a test of how good you are at passing tests and not a measurement of a holistically educated young person. I believe young people are leaving school feeling inadequate because they do not measure up to this way of assessing their abilities whilst also not preparing them for the fast paced changing work environment.
We live in a world where facts are at the end of a few clicks of technology, is it not essential that we teach our young people to apply that knowledge, solve problems and work collaboratively in schools rather than cram facts into their minds ready for stressful tests?
In the pursuit of the highest, most impressive exam results schools are pushing out creative thinking and a pupil’s capacity to follow their own passions and interests. Ex UK educationalist Ken Robinson suggests that our education system is a legacy of the Victorian era which led to creating people that just needed to sit still in factories and offices, jobs that don’t really exist anymore.
Creativity is not just about the Arts, it is within everything we do, all our thinking, all our doing. All children have the right to study a broad and rich curriculum as well as have hands on experiential learning which is student led and project based. A focus on exams and tests is putting our children off learning and unnecessarily increasing stress and anxiety.
I believe a debate of these current issues urgently needs to be opened. As a teacher and a mother of a 5 year old who has just entered the education system I have first-hand experience of the concerns I have listed and I also know many parents and educators who have the same concerns.
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