Friday, March 23, 2007

Lower the school leaving age; shorten the school day

If we lower the school leaving age and shorten the school day, children will learn more. That is the paradox.

In the United Kingdom, the state school system has failed.
We know some British teenagers who do not know the name of the capital city of their own country. They can barely read and write. Yet they are of average intelligence.

British state schools are bad and getting worse. Many should be closed down.
A re-think of education is required.

All schools should be run privately by non-profit making trusts.
All schools should be small.

The school day should be about 3 hours.

The school leaving age should be around 12.

Much more use should be made of apprenticeships, learning by computer, and 'special' schools.
BBC 1 television should show educational programmes only.

Mothers of young children should stay at home and not go out to work.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, 1 June 2006, more than half of school leavers have problems with the basics:

Hundreds of thousands of teenagers have such poor mastery of the three Rs they cannot scrape a grade C in the two subjects employers and parents regard as crucial.

They are finishing compulsory schooling without the literacy and numeracy skills they need to "participate in life, learning and work" despite a raft of multi-billion pound Labour initiatives...

And the inability of pupils to get good grades comes despite widespread suspicions that exams have been dumbed down in recent years...

Forty-two per cent of pupils finished 11 years of compulsory education without achieving at least a grade C in GCSE English which means they struggle to read and summarise information accurately or use basic grammar...

Forty-eight per cent - or 301,671 - failed to reach the same standard in GCSE maths meaning they are unable to calculate the area of a room.

A total of 54 per cent - nearly 350,000 - fail to achieve the expected level in both English and maths.

The official exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), says pupils need to meet grade C standard - so-called "level two" - to function as citizens...

Just 46 per cent leave school able to read, write and add up properly.


A three hour school day; a school leaving age of 12

The 1819 Factory Act in the UK limited the working day for children in cotton mills.

What we need now is a Schools Act limiting the school day to three hours.

I would suggest that school hours could be 9 am to 12 noon.

Very few children can concentrate on school work for more than 3 hours per day.

When children are not at school they can enjoy being children.

Interests will vary:

1. Children can work at home or in libraries on interesting homework projects. It would help if every child was given a computer.

2. They can join clubs involved in everything from sport to music to carpentry to journalism ....

3. They can become apprentices in safe and interesting occupations.

4. They can explore their world.
Mothers of younger children will be able to spend more time with their offspring.


'She's being a total Kelly' wrote Zoe Williams, in the 14 June 2005 Guardian.

Former UK Education Secretary Ruth Kelly wants children to be at school from 8am to 6pm.

An official at the Department for Education and Skills stated: "If we want parents to go out to work to support the family, the days of schools simply being open from 9am to 3pm are over."

Zoe Williams writes: "8 till 6 is a bloody long day."

Leaving school before 18 will become a crime
Teenagers who drop out of school at 16 will face criminal action and £50 fines under plans to raise the leaving age

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