The Association of Christian Teachers in the UK has appealed to the Church to get involved in British’s failing education system. The call follows a recent report of the Times Education Commission that states the education system has failed on all measures, reports Premier Christian News.
The commission found that more than half of parents believe Britain’s educational system does not prepare children and young people for life and 60% of them think it does not prepare them for work.
Preschool education is a vital stage in a child’s life, yet primary school teachers reported that 46% of children are not school-ready. One shocking discovery was some children at the start of school were unable to say their names and half of the nursery pupils were not toilet-trained.
As Christian teachers, we need to have that perspective that exams aren’t everything, but nor is a career, nor is a family, or happiness. —Lizzie Harewood, Association of Christian Teachers executive officer
The report also found that “65% of parents think the education system places too much emphasis on tests and qualifications and 70% of businesses believe that the current UK secondary education system focuses too much on grades,” according to education and skills news website, FE News.
Executive officer Lizzie Harewood clarified that the association does not assume schools failed in all aspects in preparing students for life after graduation, but they believe there are key areas in the education system that should be addressed.
“Exams have been a major source of emotional stress, not just for teachers, but for students…with some students refusing to even open an exam paper or refusing to even write their name on the exam paper,” she said.
Harewood pointed out that the focus on exams puts unnecessary stress and anxiety to students. Some students who wish to perform well in class would take extra time and effort just to ace tests while sacrificing other aspects in their lives.
“As Christian teachers, we need to have that perspective that exams aren’t everything, but nor is a career, nor is a family, or happiness.”
Harewood said involving the Church in the education system will help in giving a new perspective to students on how they deal with their studies.
“It gives us this great opportunity, when we are Christians in education, to speak personally of how our trusting God puts our worry, in perspective. God has a plan for our lives no matter how we feel it might all depend on one certain day and one exam.
“I think the better we model this, the more curious students will become. And we can help them to develop their character, as well as perhaps show them something of Jesus in the classroom.”
UK’s Department of Education responded to the commission’s report saying it has an “ambitious recovery program” after the pandemic to get the children back on track. Part of the department’s plan is the National Tutoring Program that provides “nearly two million courses of high-quality tuition for the children and young people who need it most, together with additional funding for schools to use, to provide further tailored support for pupils.” The department believes tutoring is a great tool in assisting students.
Harewood acknowledges the government’s education recovery program, but maintains the Church will bring in a lasting and meaningful change in the system. She believes there is a great role for church leaders and congregation members to play in support of teachers and students.
“I’d say the first thing they can do is to pray. Pray for the young people in their area, pray for the schools in that area, pray for leaders in the schools and teachers and governors especially.”