The prominence of the novel Corona Virus has highlighted three key areas where the UK’s education system are deficient.
Firstly, the need to adopt online learning as a response to national lockdowns has shown the extent to which wealth disparity affects the quality of education received by young Britons. Whilst many leading private schools were quickly able to adopt a new model of remote learning to continue delivering the excellent teaching the UK is renowned for; many state schools in poorer boroughs fell behind. This was attributed to the lack of access to resources by students, as well as the difficulties in holding students accountable in a virtual learning environment.
Why was it the case that many students in private and selective schools were much more open to adopting this new approach to learning? In part , the answer lies in the differences attitudes held by students regarding the value of education. The Prime Minister has continually emphasised the importance of keeping schools open due to the debilitating effects of prolonged closure on social mobility- I believe that a fundamental aspect of tackling social mobility issues is showing young people exactly why school is ,in itself, so important in the fist place.
Lastly, the pandemic has highlighted many of the issues associated with a linear examination system. There is a focus on preparing for students for their final exams, with less attention given to performance throughout the year. As such, teachers were inadequately prepared to provide their students with predicted grades last summer and face continued difficulties this year with demotivated students in light of the cancelled examinations announcement. This resurfaces the question of whether a linear system is really a better choice than a modular system in providing a holistic picture of student ability.