This is such a busy time of year – with schools, colleges and universities having had the main summer recess and all the time it takes to get back up and running for the new terms. It’s so exciting too – I used to love the start of the new school year in September. We didn’t have the opportunity to take up extra e-learning or online studies – there were no computers of course. It was a case of recognising my own failures and trying to find the resources in my own way. I didn’t know that until far too late. I have always been on the optimistic side of life and starting a new term literally brought me the chance to perhaps improve on the previous one. I have to admit it was always a good chance I couldn’t do much worse and despite all my efforts, I seem to miss a few of the obvious points of each subject lesson throughout the term. If I could have logged on to the fantastic e-learning systems available today I could have been that astro-scientist or a musician. Ho hum….
It’s only when you start watching the US property programmes that you apprecciate the critical aspect of house location when it comes to schooling – over there particularly. I have gotten into thehabit of watching one particular series and the priority list for the new houses is always to ensure the family end up in the right catchment area for their existing or preferred school. Of course, over there they have a completely different system to the UK and it reflects most of Europe too. The schooling has to be paid for in a way completely differently to the ‘household rates’ system that pays for education for the masses here. However, the same problem arises if y ou cannot get housed in the catchment area, you face a choice of your child going to a school you don’t like, or you pay a huge amount for them to go to one of the independent schools. A meeting with an education consultant can be helpful to help parents sort out the proper route suitable for their child. Education provision a big headache when you don’t really know which road to take!
The choice of whether you stay on at school to do A levels or go stright to college to continue that level is something that many youngsters have to consider. I can think of four young men and women who decided this was the way forward for them. Thinking back, the two girls were absolutely against staying on at school because they felt left out of the ‘in crowd’ and it seemed to me to be a personality issue rather than academic. The boys on the other hand felt they had outgrown the standard school type of education – the structures, having to conform to being treated like children. I can remember also, they both came alive as soon as they visited their choices of further educational establishments and really got into the swing of preparing for interviews for admission. All four are now successful in their chosen fields and have gone on to take a variety of online and top up educational courses – all job related or career focused.
Young people today have rather too much choice in how they set about getting a career. The schools are geared up entirely to getting every single student into university – not for the good of the student but for the good of the school league tables and reporting. The government has various means of getting in to be a civil servant – graduates can apply for the fast track scheme in which they are taken on my one ministry and work their way up through junior management posts – not really helpful to my kind of civil service career, I was one of the plodders who got there on merit! Training courses though for all ivil servants are better than most of the ordinary office based ones. They are expensive but streamined. also available today are specialist e-learning courses for candidates to take in preparation to apply for apprenticeships and national civil service careers. The gov web site has all sorts of interesting pages about training and study at work and how to find the right course to get the right job. This is a most useful feature and should suit/
We tend to pride ourselves on our way being the ‘right way’ to do everything. Having been born and raised in this tiy country, I’ve never really had any reason to question how our education system works. I could indeed have made much more of my early opportunities – studied just that bit ore when the maths teacher was striding across the classroom, chalk in hand and desperatly warbling. I can remember a mnemonic for trigonometry which of course involve Sin, Cosin & Tangents. So . ..The Sign of a Public House means the Tanning of a Poor Boy and the Cause of a Broken Heart. I think we take that as Sin = Perpendicular over Hypotenuse; Tangent = Perpendicular over Base and finally, Cosin = Base over Hypotenuse. It was so helpful to me for the brief period we touched on that element of maths. Today of course, I can sign up for any number of frantastic online courses and have he world literally at my fingertips.
It can be so daunting when youngsters are just beginning their upper school career – lots of exams to be encountered and no idea why they’re doing this or that! Online training courses are becoming much more available for all ages, not just the youth of today. With so many career options for them to choose after their mainstream education has been completed, TV is often a source of ideas and inspiration, daytime gaes shows not counting here – but the crime genre and anything with law and order. Many a young person could well decide to work towards becoming a police officer; there are exams needed as well as voluntary work as a community officer who spends time with the real officers and gains experience of life on the beat. Police work particularly relies on comprehensive understanding of data systems, electronic learning and and how to extract information to do the job adequately and expertly. Learning these understanding skills early on will enhance any career later.
Going for the higher grades for GCSEs is often a real challenge for a youngster. Things ar so very different to how they were decades ago when these formal examinations were originally set up. There were two exam levels but of course, no e-learning or online resources. We were able to choose which scheme for each subject. GCE O level was the preferred one – offering the chance to go on to take A levels if university placement was sought. Those not able to manage that level could opt for the less demanding CSE; the top marks were equivalent to the bottom two of a GCE. Today the options to top up a student’s level of knowledge or exam passing ability are many and varied. Online learning schemes and teaching courses at home are fantastic and give a child that boost in self confidence to sit that higher level paper!
How well I remember my poor old dad going off to night school to retrain in his chosen career. Having been in the forces, he became an apprenticed aircraft engineer on aircraft carriers. A very dangerous occupation and one that had very specific training at the time. After he left that life behind, he became a rep for a brewery – a very popular job for some men quite probably, but it was only a comfortable stepping stone for dad. He had other ideas. He wanted to combine his talent for sketching with illustrating and doing technical drawing. So after working all day he would go to night school twice a week to learn the essentials. It obviously worked – he was able to get a job at the very important aircraft factory that was building the marvellous supersonic aircraft that defined our country for a few short years – I am so proud he was able to make his contriution to that exciting project.
For the most part, families who know their place in this world have no difficulty in deciding their route to the top educational establishments. Generally in the grand scheme of things, there wil be a scattering of top army brass, an MP or two and one or two very popular minor aristos to keep the name circling high. These fmilies have for generation after generation educated their children at one of a select few pre prep schools, before little Mini Me goes up to the next stage of prep and finally the biggie – Eton or Harrow. The long term view is that you only get the best if you pay for the best. A consultant can help many families who are not exactly in that upper league. They have a nose on every angle of education in this country and can suggest alternative routes that can achieve the same but cost far less.
I have a youngster amid my extended family and she’s now soaking up learning and education like asponge. For most of her teenage years, she has been sitting in the corner of the room quietly sketching anyone and anything attracting her immediate attention. Rather like a war reporter. She has a very impressive gallery of pictures nd filled sketch pads. Everyone assumed she would major in art and has never really thought about another stream of learning. Now that she’s in her gcse year and results of ‘mocks’ are the instrument govening her next stage, she has suddenly gone into over-drive with wanting to bone up on other subjects. Realising that art is a luxury subject and not taken very seriously by schools, she has taken to revising the core subject big time using e-learning and online education courses. Her whole ethos has changed and she’s keen as mustard to get the highest possible grades in all!