Education in the ‘Year of Elections’

2024 has been billed as the ‘Year of Elections’ as many countries across the world go to the polls to give an extra term to the ruling party or vote for change.

The decision on who to vote for will be based on many things, but key will be each party’s promises should they get elected. Public services are often at the forefront of electoral promises and families should always look out for policies which will impact the education of their children.

It would be outside of the scope of this article to consider the changes to the education systems promised by political parties in every country going to the polls this year but one of the most interesting cases is that of the UK.

There is a very strong feeling that the standard of public services in the UK has dropped considerably over the last decade, with education being a good case in point. Whilst it would be unfair to generalise, rising class sizes, teachers departing the profession early, combined with weak recruitment, has left education facing a crisis.

What are the proposed solutions?

One solution being proposed is increasing the number of teachers in our schools, funded by adding VAT to private school fees. There are a number of concerns over this policy and the consequences of it are already being felt through the world of private education.

More teachers?

Increasing the number of teachers in our schools is a headline approach to the problem but is it the most effective solution? There’s talk of recruiting 6500 teachers but doesn’t account for the projected loss of teachers in the profession of nearly double that number over the same period. Whether there will be a net gain of 6500 remains to be seen but, even if this is the case, it’s no more than a small sticking plaster on an open wound.

Ask a teacher and they’ll say that the issue is not the number of teachers (by the way, the extra teachers work out at 0.2 new teachers per school) but the whole school system; from excessive emphasis on data driven education, the appalling discipline seen in schools, rife bullying, the psychological effects of the pandemic and more. The list goes on. Like much of the creaking infrastructure in the UK, the size of the problem and hence the scale of the solution is such that there are just far too few resources – and this comes down not just to funding but a lack of effectively targeted funding, to provide an effective and lasting solution.

To provide some of this funding, it’s been proposed to add VAT to private school fees.

More pressure on state schools

It’s been said in the past that the private school system, whilst ‘elitist’, relieved some of the pressure on the state system by educating students who would otherwise attend the state schools. It doesn’t take much to see that adding VAT to private school fees, pricing as much as 40% of current private school students out of private education, will increase the pressure on schools which, in many cases, are already bulging at the seams. The general secretary of one of Britain’s biggest teaching union has already warned that the policy would add to already increasing class sizes and negate the benefits that could be brought about by the extra revenue.

What is the solution then?

With private school fees set to rise by 20%, many parents, and their children, are very concerned about their child’s remaining years in education and this is where online education can step in to fill the gap, and provide an effective medium, between private education and state education in physical schools. Fees are very reasonable because online schools don’t need expensive premises with accompanying costs and all online schools operate effectively as private schools. Choosing one with small class sizes, comprehensive online resources and experienced teachers will give you many of the benefits of a private education without the increasingly hefty price tag.

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Elea High - Online Education

Elea High - Online Education

Elea High Online School is a small, supportive, family-oriented Secondary and Sixth Form online school where every student is valued for the unique qualities they bring to an inclusive, caring, global school community.

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