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In the following essay, I'll be talking about how policy is made in the UK. I'll be looking in detail how policy was made firstly, under the Labour government, and during the thatched government and how policy making in the UK is affected now that we've found ourselves in a coalition government. My main area of concern is education; I'll be looking at how policies have been made by government in all area of education, in its development. From public education to private school education, primary to secondary and then going on to higher education. I'll also be discussing how these policies create social inequalities in our society.
The Parliament is the main source of policy making in the UK as it has the most sovereignty.
Coalition takes place where a number of Politician parties are competing for power in an elected legislature and there has not been a majority seats won by a political party in the parliament.
The most prominent Coalition government is also known as the national government, which first took place during World War I and World War II (1931 to 1940), where the labour and the liberal-democrats agreed to enter a coalition partnership. The Prime-minister at the time was Winston Churchill, who was also a war leader.
The disadvantages to coalition government is that; coalition would withstand the inevitable unpopularity of administrative controls, such as food rationings, conscription of labour and the commanding of property in public. It also imposes restriction on freedom. However, the advantages could be that a coalition government could express national unity, it could also mean that there is greater flexibility for ministers in deciding who to employ, greater freedom for civil servants in calling for information and advice and lastly, it creates a circle of confidence which ignored party affiliates
Government bills embody the government policy, and a prime minister introduces them. The most fundamental policy making in the UK is the queen and the sovereignty of both houses of the parliament. The parliament consists of MPs, who are the members of the parliament. The mps are divided into different parties, each party vote on a party leader, whoever is chosen is then elected by the state in a general election, as the prime minister, who is responsible for the policy and decision making in the UK. As well as meeting the public's needs, the role of the prime minister is also to appoint the members of the cabinets.
When Margret Thatcher came to power in 1970, her policy was to increase the states power through privatisation. Thatcher's decision-making in reducing inflation and budget expenditures succeeded, however, at social services spending cost been cut and continuous increase in unemployment. These decisions she made, which ... included privatization measures and reduced subsidies to businesses, hit many employers' hard, especially manufacturing industries. In 1981, in spite of been in a serious recession, Thatcher's government promote increase in taxes, driving up unemployment to its highest level since World War II. Unemployment only just began to decrease in 1986, this was when Thatcher's policies were recognized by cutting down interest rates, whilst cutting inflation, and forcing British industries to become more competitive internationally. Thatcher's government sustained its policy of reducing the power of the trade unions
As a result the overall aim of Margaret Thatcher's education policies in the 1980s was to change the nation's schools system from a public service into a market system.
Local authorities would no longer allocate children to schools. Anywhere a school was oversubscribed; the local authorities would choose its students on the basis of 'ability and aptitude'. If the schools were undersubscribed it would face the possibility of shutting down. The educational market would not be completely free for all. There would be an 'effective and independent inspectorate', a government-defined 'minimum curriculum' and specified 'minimum standards'
For Thatcher, the local authorities - many of them were run by the Labour party - were an irritant, blocking central government's ability to affect what was going on in the schools. Her government for that reason set about weakening the role of the Local education agency (LEA) by taking to pieces the triangular framework of responsibility - central government, Local authorities and the schools - which had been set up in 1944, and by offering parents a greater role in the running of schools.
Education Act 1979- Thatcher's first abolish Labour's 1976 Act and gave back to LEAs the right to select pupils for secondary education at 11. It was backed up by the 1980 Education Act which, for the first time, formally enshrined the eleven plus selection process in law
Education Act 1944 introduced under the conservative government changed secondary education for good, free education was introduced, for pupils. Also introduced, was the tripartite of secondary school system. This consists of grammar schools, secondary technical schools and state modern school.
Since there only limited spaces in elementary school for pupils age 5 and 13, children were forced to find an alternative, which was the working system. Only the rich who could afford an academic career went on and id that, the less privileged were not giving the choice.
Nature of education changed generally; it was when it became possible for a limited number of pupils to gain access to a Grammar School, only If they had passed an examination at the age of 11. The Elementary School made it its main focus to prepare pupils for the examination. The tests only examined the ability of the children in two major subjects, which were: English and Arithmetic. Other subjects, therefore, were neglected. What's more, the status of the school rested solely on its success rate at this examination.
The tests became the foundation of what is known as the 11plus tests. It led to divisions in schools, allowing streaming (also known as tracking) to take place, causing division in the country, resulting in social class distinctions and also led to conflicts between the two political parties - Labour and Conservative, with the Conservative in favour of the selection process and Labour against it. All the conflicts against the 11 plus exam and the selection process had led to the idea of the modern comprehensive system, which was cherished by Labour and rejected by Conservatives.
It was then argues that the children's future was decided from age as little as 11. Students who didn't partake the exam or who failed it could only gain access to a Secondary Modern School and later maybe to a Technical School.
This type of school gave chance to those who took interest in furthering their studies beyond the O-level GCE stage. It compensates their academic loss, by providing an academic education for pupils between the ages of 12 and 19. Their students came through the selective process of the 11 plus examination and therefore these schools had the most academically able students. Majority of the pupils proceeded into higher education (university) after school. It was, rightly or wrongly, seen as a middle class institution
Once they get on to higher education, the student would take on a course, which would last four years, which then led them onto the school leaving, certificate. The courses were offered in English, and had a choice of at least one other language, mathematics, history, geography science, drawing, manual instruction or domestic subjects, and physical exercise. On the completion of the course, pupils normally enter the professional world.
Due to the increase of students taking GCE, there was a need to introduce a more precise examination accustomed to the Secondary School. In 1963, a new type of external education was introduced, which was known as the Certificate of Secondary Education (C.S.E.)
School today in Britain has gone into more of a comprehensive school system; it can be argued that the comprehensive system incorporates everything in the tripartite system. "Intended to provide all the secondary education of all the children in a given area without an organization in three sides" This quote shows that the comprehensive school system has all tripartite system all in one, and the intention of the government to providing secondary education to, without having to select them based on their ability.
Comprehensive schools accommodate all pupils regardless of their ability. These schools consequently cater for children with different variety of social backgrounds, hence the name "comprehensive". There is no form of examination, which could exempt any pupil from entering the school, or any other selection process for entry.
Comprehensive Schools still draws on distinctions. Streaming and setting is introduced to learning ability. This implies that pupils are grouped together in order to achieve a degree of uniformity in classes, regardless of the difference in individual's level of intellect
Statistics states that 86.8% of pupils in England attend comprehensive schools. There are, however, other types of school: 5.2% attend middle, deemed secondary; 2.6% attend Secondary Modern; 4.2% Secondary Grammar; 0.1% Technical Schools.
The abolishment of SATs in 2008, in secondary school for age 14 plus is a major concern for me because i don't think pupils are properly judged on their ability, neither does it prepare them for the future, e.g. if a pupil decides to go onto college, he/she's needs to be prepared. Personally, GCSE alone do not prepare students for the future, and i think it's oversubscribed, because what is required of a student in college, is a much higher expectation for what was required in GCSE in secondary school. As to thins, I thing more gradual steps should be taken.
Labour's Manifesto: Education Policy
â€¢An expansion of free nursery places for two-year-olds and 15 hours a week of flexible, free nursery education for three and four-year-olds.
â€¢ Every child leaving primary school secure in the basics.
â€¢ Giving parents the power to bring in new school leadership teams, through mergers and takeovers, with up to 1,000 secondary schools part of an accredited schools group by 2015.
â€¢ Every young person guaranteed education or training until 18, with 75 per cent going on to higher education, or completing an advanced apprenticeship or technician level training, by the age of 30
â€¢ Spending increased on frontline Sure Start and free childcare, schools and 16-19 learning.