The eductaion system: a converation...

After recently finishing sixth form I wanted to reflect on my journey through secondary school; express mine and others views on the education system in the UK, the positives and the negatives. This post includes my views and also the views of others. Also enjoy our leavers and prom photos.

The creative subjects debate:
NEVUS - It is sad to see that many artistic routes are being got rid of because 'they don't matter'. Us artists are the future! We make the changes and its incredibly upsetting to see school environments cling to the traditional subjects and reject the artistic ones.
Seconding Nevus' point, from doing art GCSE and Alevel I can honestly say that art is one of the most important subjects to me, it has not only taught me to be an artist but it has made me thought more creatively in general and has only benefited me alongside my two other subjects: English and Psychology. It has made me think in a new way and see the world differently, without art the world would be so very boring!

Alevels or BTECs?
In post-16 study you are given the option to do Alevels, BTECs or a mixture of the two. You study these subjects for two years. Alevels are on the most part exams based and are traditionally seen as the "harder option" and the "best way of getting into university." BTECs are mostly coursework based subjects and are becoming much more recognised by universities and some courses prefer for students to have done BTECs. The option is up to you and it depends completely upon what you want to do in the future.
Both options can be difficult and in recent years Alevels have been reformed and made harder:
LAURA - They have made Alevels too hard in an attempt to make them "rigorous" previous grade boundaries would be 70-80% to get an A, now they have had to lower the grade boundaries so much due to how tough the questions are. This puts undue pressure on students, who take an exam and feel like they have failed afterwards due to how hard the questions were. A clear example of this is Edexcel Biology where the grade boundaries were under 50% for an A last year, why make an exam so hard that students cant even get 50% to get an A?
JULIA - The new style of GCSE sets you up for the new Alevels, however we were part of the old GCSEs so we are at a disadvantage from the start.
NEVUS - Doing BTECs was the best choice for me because it is all coursework, and although the pressure can be high along the way with overlapping deadlines, the courses I chose were amazing and I really enjoyed them.
I have personally had a love - hate relationship with the subjects I took for Alevel, while they were challenging and did cause stress, I equally enjoyed learning the content and I found it interesting on the most part!

Stress and pressure and exams...
I think there is a constant fear of failing now days, there is far more pressure on getting into university than there has ever been before. You could work so hard but all it comes down to is 2-3 exams in each subject and if you get the wrong question...that's it. It's not really a fair representation of all our hard work...
JULIA - repressing the need to revise, but equally knowing how much stress it caused we would still not have had the willpower or motivation to start earlier
NEVUS - Pressure on teens today is ridiculous and when I was doing my GCSEs it was hard but they have only got insanely harder.
HANNAH - I think we get too much pressure put on us when it comes to exams and I feel like we just get thrown in the deep end.
CHARLOTTE - I think teachers can put too much pressure on us as well because of statistics. 
I think while teachers put pressure on us it is also because they are under huge amounts of pressure to preform and this can sometimes reflect negatively. Exams have caused me a lot of pressure and stress but I think I've come to accept that now and I now know how to handle it better.

Favourite memories and what we are going to take from education:
JULIA - The skill of procrastination
HANNAH - My favourite memories were of being on the field at lunch time and just mucking around. 
NEVUS - I have personally really enjoyed the past two years of sixth from, mainly because I took subjects I love.
I don't think I'm going to forget my secondary school experience anytime soon! I can honestly say I've had an amazing seven years with so many amazing people and teachers that have honestly inspired me. I feel lucky to have gone to the school I did with such a warm community (the actual school was freezing!) I've had such a good time and I think I'm secretly going to miss it!

Niamh xx
Special Thank You to Nevus, Julia, Hannah, Laura and Charlotte.


  1. I think secondary school should be a time enjoy your childhood but to start learning about the real world. Schools are so fixated st making students think Uni and taking up traditional subjects like English Maths and Science is the only successful pathway whilst it's not. I left sixth form 4 years ago and I still remember me and my friends feeling a lot of pressure. From what I've gathered from this post and the changes to the GCSE and A-Level exams students have more pressure than ever to get good grades. I don't think it helps that schools don't concentrate on educating students on life skills (e.g. managing money and finding yourself as a person) that you need for the real world and assuring kids that exams and grades don't define them as people. The more we educate students that the less pressure they'll feel going into exam season - because they'll have the tools equipped to know it's not the end of the world if they don't get the results they wanted.

    Anyway this is a great write-up Niamh. Best of luck with your future!

    Johnny | Johnny's Traventures

  2. A Levels are HARD. Real hard. But it's so great you guys were all there for each other and you enjoyed yourselves. I reckon I would have been really screwed doing the new style of A Levels, but my family's attitude around BTECs were that a University wouldn't want me if I did them. I've been a Drama student my whole life before Uni, so the thought of schools not caring about artistic subjects is heartbreaking to me. Drama definitely helped me so much with my confidence and public speaking in life and maths really hasn't done that much for me.

    This is a great post, wishing you all luck in your future paths

    Lon x


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