Category Archives: Education

Well done, Mayor of London

We’re used to empty promises by politicians but one person who I respect, both for being proactive and hilarious at the same time is our Mayor, Boris Johnson.

He’s been in the news twice recently, addressing a couple of issues that were becoming a concern. The first was about a week ago where it was announced that he would have authority and power to speed up works to build new homes and to develop at least 50,000 new homes. Bravo, Mr Johnson, Bravo! The housing crisis was becoming a massive concern for Londoners, and his move will provide a more stable property market and will help ease some of the pressure that first-time buyers face, as they will soon have a variety of properties to choose from.

The second action he has taken is to do with our education system. I can do nothing more than to take my hat off to him and praise him for his proactive approach.

The Mayor has made provisions to open up eleven (yes, eleven!) new schools in London’s most deprived locations. Out of the 11, 9 of them will be free which is a boost for working class families. It’s estimated that the new schools will provide over 7,000 spaces for school pupils, which is great news. Despite this positive development, it is claimed by City Hall that 90,000 places are needed by 2016. A negative point was made from the National Union of Teachers, who claimed that free schools are not the answer.

Personally, I think it’s great news. We always hear of empty promises of positive change from Mayors and politicians and I am genuinely pleased to see that Boris Johnson is making a visible effort to help those in need. After all, as humans, isn’t that what we should strive for? To help make the world a better place for those who don’t have the resources that their rich counterparts do?

Furthermore, I think that we should also focus on what happens after the schools are open. It’s a positive that we will have more schools but what we do with the schools should be the main focus. The standard of teaching has to be raised throughout the entire City and the country. In order to do this, teachers need more training. I believe that teachers need to take skills in people management or psychology as part of their course in order to increase their knowledge on people and the way in which children think in order to help each child maximise their academic potential.

Also, academic success doesn’t necessarily relate to success in the workplace. At school, we have 2 weeks work experience where we spend it in a retail store, which provides us with none of the skills needed to be successful in higher paid jobs. This is just an idea that I’m throwing out there, but wouldn’t it be better if there was a whole year where students were given work placements in different industries for a month each? An academic year is about 9 months long, so that means 9 different places for students to experience. This could help them make better career choices as they can eliminate careers that they didn’t enjoy.

Personally, I remember when I was in school. I had to make the decision in year 9, when I was 14, on what I wanted to study in the next 3 years. Then, a year later, I had to decide what I wanted to study in college. We can’t expect children to make career choices without being fully informed or without an insight in to the field they choose to pursue. Careers advisers are poor and their advice isn’t great. Their advice is generic across the board for all students. I had a keen interest in Psychology as I wanted to be able to read people. When speaking with the advisor, they assured me that that is what psychology is about in college. Excitedly, I signed up. Soon after enrolling in college, I realised that there really isn’t a way to read people. Psychology is a study on human behaviour based on different theories. There are no definitive answers. I was lied to and wasted my time because of misleading information.

To finish this article, I’m going to praise the Mayor again. Bravo, Mr Johnson! I really hope that after the schools are opened, the quality of the education is made the most important focus and an area that is looked at in detail. Students need a better understanding of a professional workplace, and no amount of essays and tests is going to teach anyone that. Granted, some fields need specialist knowledge (like doctors), but the majority of fields simply need experience in order to be successful.