Changing Face of British Education Term Paper

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" (Stevens, 2006) While the pay of education staff has been lowered, tuition fees have been raised and yet public spending."..on higher education in the UK is one of the lowest in the industrialized world." (Stevens, 2006) Currently Britain is stated to spend only 1.1% of its national income on higher education, compared with the EU average of 1.2%." (Stevens, 2006; paraphrased) the U.S. spends 2.6% of its national income on higher education according to Stevens. The Labour and Conservative parties in Britain are conspiring to bring about an increase of private funding for higher education "but only to encourage the social stratification that has taken place." (Stevens, 2006) the proposal is for the establishment of a system in which a "select group of 'world class' universities would be established, with the majority of universities left to compete amongst themselves for ever dwindling public funding." (Stevens, 2006) Oxford and Cambridge Universities will not be required to place caps on tuition fees and will thereby be enabled to charge tens of thousands of pounds, which will further restrict attendance at this universities to "a wealthy and privileged elite." (Stevens, 2006) Stevens states that recently at Oxford, proposals were made focused on structural changes, which would "allow outside members into the university's governance structures and ending its centuries-old policy of self-rule. The plans from Vice-Chancellor John Hood were presented as a move to modernise the structures of the university and to allow accountability and transparency. In fact, the plan is for Oxford to become accountable to big business and to be financially "incentivised" to perform. Hood called for the creation of a board of directors with a majority of externally appointed members to approve the budget and oversee the running of the university. Oxford faces a budget deficit of £8 million this year and opponents of the Hood plans correctly fear that one of the first priorities of such a board of directors would be to demand an increase in its fees to at least £10,000 a year. Commenting on the debate on Hood's proposals, the Times said, "At times it sounded like a boardroom meeting, with references repeatedly made to the institution's £1.2 billion value, and the vital role played by effective management structures." (2006) These proposals were provided support by government body that is responsible for appropriation of funding for universities specifically the Higher Education Funding Council for England however "they were rejected by a vote of the universities dons by 730 to 456 and in a subsequent postal ballot." (Stevens, 2006) Stevens relates that there is a resulting devastation in the impact that the "stranglehold of corporations over higher education" hold upon the university departments all across the UK with one example being the closing of the "world-renowned physics department at Reading University and these types of attacks are expected to "escalate as the government and the opposition vie with each other to implement wide-ranging attacks on the right to tertiary education." (2006) the work of Boris Johnson entitled: "Aspire Ever Higher: University Policy for the 21st Century" states that state control over higher education must end as "Universities are not part of the public sector and should be set free to run their own affairs, whether this means admitting students or teaching courses. The government should acknowledge that 'hierarchies of excellence' must be allowed to flourish." (Johnson, 2006) Johnson additionally states: "I foresee a 20-year period of psychological reconditioning in the way we think about universities and their funding. We also need to think more creatively about tax breaks and how to build up alumni donations and endowments." (Johnson, 2006; as cited in Stevens, 2006) Chancellor Gordon Brown has stated the necessity to search for alternative funding sources both of a public and private nature. Due to the decline in public funding of education the universities are adding a large number of foreign students in the hopes to balance the deficit in funding. Stevens states that the increase in foreign students is precisely the reason for the lifting of tuition caps and reports a 2004 study conducted by the British Council and Universities UK that states findings that Britain could earn "£13 billion a year from international students in higher education by 2020, in addition to the £3 billion they currently contribute to the economy.

Another government-funded study by Geraint Johnson, Professor of Economics at Lancaster University, revealed that the economy earned £11 billion annually from "exports" of tuition for foreign students, training, examinations, publishing and educational programming: "That places education in the same league as exports of oil and financial services, which earned Britain £14.3 billion and £13.6 billion in 2002, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics." (Stevens, 2006)


In January 2007 the Evening Standard reported that the school leaving age "is to be raised to 18" within the framework of plans that Alan Johnson, Education Secretary has taken under consideration. Under the terms of this plan, students would be required to remain in school whether curricular education or vocational training until the age of 18, "...unless they had a job with a minimum level of training." (Evening Standard, 2007) This change, if implemented would begin in 2013 for students that entered secondary school in 2008. According to Johnson "It should be unacceptable to see a 16-year-old working with no training, no education, as it is now to see a 14-year-old." (Evening Standard, 2007)


The document entitled: "Education and Inspections Act Comes Into Force" states that From today, schools may publish proposals under the EIA 2006 to become Trust Schools. In addition the EIA 2006 requires local authorities to promote diversity and increase parental choice in planning schools, and to respond formally to parents seeking changes to the provision of schools in their area." (Teachernet. 2007) Stated is that "Guidance for the new arrangements for special schools is being developed and will be available shortly. In the meantime you should refer to the regulations. The processes will be similar to those for mainstream schools and therefore you could refer to the mainstream school guides but ensure that you identify relevant differences e.g. provide the correct information on statutory notices etc." (Teachernet, 2007)

The work entitled: 'Capital Support for the Expansion of Successful and Popular Secondary Schools" relate that in order to bring the standards to the level desired the government has offered incentive funding for support of "the expansion of successful and popular secondary schools." (Teachernet. 0207) This plan focuses on ensuring that proposals are not hampered due to lack of capital funding when School Adjudicators considering these proposals. The information required to apply and qualify for successful funding of successful and popular secondary schools is located online via link from the Teachernet website ( latest Guidance for Local Authorities, schools, School Organization Committees and other bodies relating to incentive funding is also available via a link found on the Teachernet website. The changes occurring in the education system in Britain are all across, within, and throughout the system.


It is clear from the changes observed in the education system in Britain that alternative means of securing funding and school operation has taken on a new structure and form. This initiative will involve the commitment of teachers, parents and communities in addressing the educational needs of the future and will require much in the way of gaining an understanding of the many structural changes that have been implemented in the educational system in Britain. Innovation and creativity in responding to the needs of students will be a requirement of educators and school staff at this time however, the commitment for excellence has a potential to result in a system that is far better in answering the needs of education in the future enabled by these changes.


Smith, Liz (2007) Report reveals UK youth abandoned by education system. WWS News 25 June, 2007. Online available at

Stevens, Robert (2006) Britain: Poorer Student Numbers Fall as Tuition Fees are Hiked Up. 27 Dec 2006. World Socialist Web Site. News and Analysis. Online available at

School Leaving Age to be Raised to 18 (2007) Evening Standard 1 Jan 2007. Online available at'to+be+raised+to+18'/

Capital Support for the Expansion of Successful and Popular Secondary Schools (2007) Teachernet.…[continue]

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