Having an education system that provides the children of the country with a good and suitable education is the key to any nation’s ability to be productive and have the ability to grow both economically and socially.  If we sit and look purely at statistics that the education system has been turning out then we would think that the UK education system is fantastic as the results are just going up and up.  However this is something that if you talk to any academic in a university they will simply say is not true, if anything the education system is dumbing down to the lowest common denominator which makes those above average look rather good.

My own experience of this was during doing my law degree, which I did as a mature student; one of the optional modules was on International Criminal Law.  Which we naturally covered the Nuremberg and Japanese war crimes trials and about 60% of the class had no idea what they were; and when the tutor said well if you don’t know what they are to go and read up on them there was outrage.  Because these people had been spoon feed up till then on how to pass an exam.  Now this to me says there is something wrong with how we are teaching people in the UK, and something needs to change.

But this leaves us with a problem as the current system is set up to treat everyone the same in that we have a comprehensive education system where the very brightest are in the same system with those who are not as smart.  It is this attitude that everyone can be anything they want to be which is in my opinion wrong.  We should be encouraging the children to be the best they can be and not setting one against the other.

I would personally propose a three tier education system, with an increase in the number of grammar schools to encourage the academically gifted to push themselves in an environment set up for academia.  To produce the new Doctors, Lawyers, scientists of tomorrow in an environment that is conducive to this.   

I would maintain a middle level of education which would focus on a mixture of academic and practical skills.  So these children got a well-rounded education which could see them go off to university if they wanted but would equally leave them in a position where they could go off and pick up a trade become an electrician or a carpenter or something along those lines. 

Then in my third tier it would be for those people who naturally struggle with academic work, and it would focus on teaching them practical life skills give them a basic understanding in English, Maths and  Science but teaching them that you don’t have to be smart to be a success. You could have these people being taught bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, cookery, dressmaking ect.

This New Labour idea that everyone should go to university is well stupid.  Everyone should have the opportunity to go to university but we need to change social attitudes so that success is not measured in how many qualifications someone has or hasn’t got.  As a country to be success full needs a varied mix of people with all skills; with this current attitude to education we will start to lose those important skills. 

We need to instil in to children that being a Chief or a Plumber is as important to society as being a Doctor or a Nurse.  Get rid of this stigma that exists that just because someone uses their hands and not a computer that their job is somehow lesser. 

So let’s bring back grammar schools for the bright, and encourage the rest to explore options to broaden their horizons and explore other options for employment.  100 years ago to become an apprentice for a skilled artisan was a prized thing; we should look to the past for how to improve the future. 

Of late there have been a few examples of big companies exploiting the “work trail” scheme; one in particular Tesco’s looking for night staff on the scheme.  Which would give Tesco’s basically a free person working for them with the state paying the member of staff’s Job Seeker’s Allowance. 

Now out of curiosity I decided to have a look in to the scheme to see what it was for and when it was introduced.  Now the basics behind the scheme are it was introduced in 1989 to provide trial periods of employment for the unemployed in small and medium businesses, which could lead to full time employment. 

Now in its original form I think it’s a wonderful idea, it allows these smaller companies to take on a new person for 2 weeks or so, to show them what the company does what their roll would be and so forth.  Then after the trial period there could be an offer of a job or they both go their separate ways.  Which for smaller companies is a good thing; it saves them having to employ someone who 2 or 3 weeks later decides that it’s not for them and then leaves costing the company a bit of money.

However this scheme wasn’t really used much, probably because the job centres and small companies didn’t know about it.  However roll on 2008 big crisis globally and unemployment starting to rise at a reasonably fast rate.  A few legislative changes were made, notably to the Minimum Wage Legislation, which allowed big business to use this long forgotten scheme. 

Now if Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s or anyone of these companies wanted to employ new staff, I am sure an advert in the local Job Centre would get them 100’s of people wanting to work for them.  So why do they need to basically exploit these people for 2 weeks to get free labour paid for by the state. 

All this is doing is tarnishing the name of what is a good scheme in principle, we should stop letting these big companies abuse it and exploit these people; and we should encourage the small and medium sized businesses to use it.  Give these big companies of tomorrow the help they need to grow, which in turn will boost the economy and create more jobs.  Tesco’s can fill its jobs several times over without any help.  We should be encouraging these aspirational companies to flourish and become the Tesco’s of tomorrow.