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The Education System in the UK

Discuss About The Associate Evaluation Educational Achievement?

The education system in UK is facing many changes and alterations these days. The number of schools has increased having different funding arrangements. As per the law in UK, all the children from the age of 5 to 16 must obtain education that is full time in nature (Holmes and Adams, 2006). Till the year of 1988, each and every school have the freedom to decide their courses and the curriculum that needs to be taught in the school. The only compulsory subject at that time was religious education. After the launch of Education reform Act 1988, the standard curriculum that is The National Curriculum of England was developed and was announced in 1992. The major aim of this reform is to ensure that all the pupils can get the balanced education and knowledge about some of the basic topics. The national curriculum defines that there are four key stages that falls under primary education and after 11 years of age, the pupil enters the secondary education schools (Handal and Herrington,2003). Key stage 1 and 2 falls under the category of primary schools and key stage 3 and 4 falls under the category of secondary education system. This National Curriculum includes some of the core subjects such as maths, English and Science.  Religious education is also taught but it has local syllabus for every school.

As far as the curriculum of mathematics is considered, it has been analysed that The National Curriculum for mathematics is based on the content and various types of tests (Priestley and Humes, 2010).


The National Curriculum (NC) developed simultaneously with the development of national test (sats) at the end of the Key Stages. The NC introduced Programmes of Study (pos), Attainment Targets (AT) levels and Statements of Attainment (soa).

The National Curriculum required all schools to address the matter of teaching merely for the attainment of knowledge and skills in separation from the application of mathematics, and to develop the approaches of teaching and learning to influence the work in mathematics (Babado?an and Olkun,  2006). This was considered as every challenging for the schools as it is required by The National Curriculum to raise the standards of mathematics for all the students.

The National Curriculum focuses on developing the knowledge of the students to learn about the calculating methods. It includes the mental methods as well as the methods by using calculators. At every level, it is required by the teachers to encourage and inspire the students and pupils to develop their own methods of calculations (Heywood, 2005). This feature of developing own methods was established by numeracy project and framework for teaching mathematics. It has been analyzed that even after the revisions were done frequently and so many times in mathematics but the change is content was observed to be very little (Rowlands, and Carson, 2002). In order to supports the teachers, training materials had been released for the teachers so that they can effectively teach the pupils properly.

The National Curriculum and Key Stages

The major aim of the new curriculum system development is to bring fluency, mathematical reasoning and solving problem methods. There are basically three types of schools in UK:

  • Community
  • Foundation
  • Voluntarily

Community schools are the one in which LEA has the responsibility for admission of the pupils. They own the staff and the land on which the school building is constructed.

As far as foundation schools are considered, these are the schools in which the governing body owns the building and has the responsibility for the admission of the pupils. In terms of ownership of the school land and building it is generally off governing boys or of any charitable trust (Marsh, 2009).

Voluntary schools are generally owned or operated by the charitable trusts. These schools are divided into two types that are aided and controlled. These are almost always church schools and the

In terms of evolution of mathematics in education system of different schools at UK, it has been analysed that Math was considered as the core and necessary subject since 19th century (Hershkowitz, et al. 2002). It has been analysed that there were many lengthy calculation under the topics of weights and measures in math and reduction in time allotted to numerical calculations in mathematics have made it problematic for the students to learn. Nearly in 1980’s the development of electronic calculators raised the concern that using these devices may affect the mental ability of the pupils to sole the arithmetic issues but eventually and gradually they become the important tools to be used by the pupils (Mullis, et al. 2012). It has been analysed that resolving the real life problems are very much complicated than solving the problems that are academic. But, these issues have made the impression that maths is not relevant to the real lives. This is the only reason that math has undergone many changes since years but the reforms were mainly focussed on changing the teaching patterns of the subject and thus required effective training programs to teach the teachers that how can they educate the students (Aubrey, Godfrey and Dahl,  2006).

Every subject the pupils learn has its impact on their personal, social, economic factors. These factors also affect the experience of learning the particular subject. Math is considered as the subject that is very much complicated in nature. This subject is assumed to be very different from the real life implementation of the subject (Adam, Beck, and Van Loon, 2000). Following are some of the factors that have their impacts on the education experience of the students regarding math:

Personal and social factors: It has been analysed that development of negative attitude towards maths by the pupils in UK is because of the differences in the real life problems and subject problems of maths (Unit and Britain, 2001). Even though pupils are talented but they have negative views on maths and face numeracy crisis. In order to improve people as an individual and the country as a whole, it is required to change the attitude towards the subject to take the benefit out of it. It has been analysed that UK people have culturally accepted to have negative thoughts about maths. It is very usual to hear in UK and “I cannot do maths” and it does not seem strange at all. Maths is seen as the remit of ‘mad scientists’, nerdy boys and socially inept. Maths is assumed to be the genetic gift that can be innate and cannot be acquired and learnt but this was really a wrong thinking. Everyone needs math at every point of their life even in everyday tasks the people perform; maths is very much required (Healy, 2003).

The Importance of Mathematics in the National Curriculum

There can be many causes that results in negative attitude of the people towards maths. The first one is the bad experience of the students in learning the concept of maths that are very basic. Students also find that the problems in their books is also not relevant to their daily lives I some cases. Most the student has bad experiences in their math class and thus it continues till their adulthood. Math also creates anxiety amongst the students (Asheim and Gertler, 2005).

Historical factors: In all the education system, math is considered as the most important and the key subject to be learnt by the students. It is considered as the ancient science that has been involved in each and every education system including UK. It has always been taught as the mandatory subject and is considered to be playing a major role in social selection. This is a subject with infallible knowledge and logic and thus it is required to be involved ii the education system with a perfect curriculum design. In earlier times that is sixth and fifth centuries, Pythagoras believed that this world is ruled by the numbers and nature has mathematical underground. It has been analysed that the students have the assumption that maths is a very tough subject and they used to hate maths. Math has always seen as the isolated subject. It is required to concept and integrates historical aspects in mathematics in order to have better teaching and learning experiences of the students (D’Este and Patel, 2007). Teaching and learning mathematics through ancient and discovery perception helps in empowering the excitement of learning. This helps the students to develop their logical reasoning and problem solving capability. These are the life skills that can be learnt by understanding the concepts of maths. Historic maths also deals with looking at the problems that are old. This helps the learners and the researchers to look for new and interesting ways to solve the problems. There are two ways in which history can be combined to maths. First strategy is that the topic can be covered by using the original source out to settle topics that fit I to the curriculum. History suggests that modern maths is confided as the integration or combination of years of learning ad discovery. Insights into the evolution and development of maths help in improving the curriculum and power of the teacher to communicate and stimulate interests. 

The association between attainment of maths and national economy is very complex to be explained and understood. The interference of government or the political decisions on the formulation of mathematics curriculum assumes utilitarian view of learning that suggests that the vocational skills can be taught in the schools (Hoyles and Lagrange,  2010). In developed world, the skill requirements of employees by the companies are changing and this may be because of the involvement of technology in the same. The new technological tools at the workplace have different skill requirements from the person who is using or operating those tools. It has been analysed that mathematical science is very important for the economy of the country like UK. It has been analysed that all the topics that are usually covered in the math curriculum such as algebra, trigonometry, dynamical analysis, mathematical physics etc. are very important for the everyday life as well as the employment life of the pupils of UK in near future. In order to drive the economy of UK, it’s required to develop the mathematical skillset across the widest economic spectrum. It has been observed that very few of the math students opt maths in their future studies or post graduate level.

The Evolution of Mathematics in the Education System of UK

It is not the case that the qualified Mathematicians are required only in UK but it’s the case for all over the world.  A report by Mathematical Sciences in 2025, published by the American National Academy of Sciences, stated ‘Mathematical Sciences is increasingly integrating in other aspects and has become a very important element in the investigation of different areas such as biology, social science, medical, economics etc. all these subjects and the investigation in the same is important and essential for the growth ad development of the economy and this fact should inform both the nature and scale of funding for the Mathematical Sciences as a whole’8.


Therefore, it has been analysed that UK has to make initiates in this direction of maintaining and developing Mathematical sciences people pipeline so that it can be competitive in nature at global level. This helps the country to attract the other global businesses to set up their operation in the UK.

In the year of 1980’s and 1990’s, the conservative government of UK has brought many reforms and introduced the market mechanism in the education system of UK. This has been done in order to raise the strands of schools in UK. The legislation that is the 1988 Education Reform Act not only bought reform in the education system but also changed the national curriculum of different subject including maths (Slavin, 2002). The market oriented reform allows the parents to have their choice about the sate funded schools. As per this, the parents in UK can choose that which school their children has attended and could be linked with the governing bodies of the schools. Some of the schools have got the right to take decision over their budget and that budget is financed by the government of UK. This helps the school governing bodies to have autonomy in their operations and particular about which student can get the admission and which cannot.

In addition to the parental choice, policy makers of the education system also attempted to improve the effectiveness of the schools (Barr and Crawford, 2005). For this, league tables were generated that helped in showing the positions of the schools in comparison to each other. gradually, the test scores become more accessible and thus the league tables undergone the refinement that results in focusing on the outcomes instead of just focusing on the examination attainment and taking account of the previous achievement of children entering a particular school. (Boud and Solomon, 2001). However even today, the newspapers concentrates on the pass are of the pupil in the exams and this is the big issue for the parents of those pupils as well.

It has been analysed that most of the organisations of contemporary society believes in old fashioned skills. Old fashioned skills means the skills that were used to perform the task in older days that are now altered and the same task is done in different ways now. Different policies have implemented these days in the organisations that requires the schools to make alteration in the school curriculum of the students to make them learn better and new skills (Gillborn*, 2005).

Factors Affecting Learning Experiences of Students

As far as some of the recent policies in UK are concerned, it has been analysed that Pupil Premium program has the objective to reduce the inequalities in between the children and the education that needs to be provided to them. This can be done by funding the schools for helping the disadvantaged students. The pupil premium is available to the student who can take free meals. It is in the hands of the school that how that funding can be used. This was the policy that is launched in England (Lorenzoni, Nicholson-Cole and Whitmarsh, 2007). In Northern Ireland, every school is god school is a policy that was launched for making improvements in the school. This helped in raising the standards and funds for the schools. Teaching Scotland’s Future was the policy that was launched in order to improve the teaching skills.


As far as Australia is considered, it is found to be the biggest competitor of UK in education system. In Melbourne, educational goals of for the youth of Australia along with Australian education minister sets the way in which the education needs to be delivered to the students at every level. The major focus on Australian education is leadership of the schools. The major objectives of Australian education includes development of school leadership, improving the quality of teaching improving the outcomes for the students who falls under the category of disadvantage society and the last one is improvement in transparency (Henry, et al. 2001). In order to increase the number of educated population, the agreement has been launched that aims at engaging more and more students in schooling programs so that the inequalities in the education can be reduced and more and more people of the country can get the education at equal level. Most of the programs and the policies in Australia are for the students who belonged to the community of indigenous society and the one who are from the lower social economic societies.  After that, the national partnership agreement has been launched or released that focused on setting the milestones of education, outcomes of the same and the strategies for delivering the education (Sahlberg, 2007). The ASQA seeks better national constancy and increased rigour in registering training providers, recognizing sequences and monitoring the excellence of the system. The TEQSA aims to safeguard that students obtain high-quality education at any higher education organization.

It has been analysed that the major aim of every education policy different countries have similar impact and objectives. His is because each of the government and the governing bodies of the countries try to improve the education level of the population and aims to remove the inequalities along with providing equal opportunities to all the people in their country to get the education at primary and secondary level. Maths is the subject that has been concluding as the most important subject and its basic language is very much required by every individuals.

References:

Adam, B., Beck, U. and Van Loon, J. eds., 2000. The risk society and beyond: critical issues for social theory. Sage.

Asheim, B.T. and Gertler, M.S., 2005. The geography of innovation: regional innovation systems. In The Oxford handbook of innovation.

Aubrey, C., Godfrey, R. and Dahl, S., 2006. Early mathematics development and later achievement: Further evidence. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 18(1), pp.27-46.

Babado?an, C. and Olkun, S., 2006. Program development models and reform in Turkish primary school mathematics curriculum. International journal for mathematics teaching and learning, 1(1), pp.1-6.

Barr, N.A. and Crawford, I., 2005. Financing higher education: Answers from the UK. London: Routledge.

Boud, D. and Solomon, N., 2001. Work-based learning: a new higher education?. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Cochran-Smith, M. and Zeichner, K.M. eds., 2009. Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education. Routledge.

D’Este, P. and Patel, P., 2007. University–industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry?. Research policy, 36(9), pp.1295-1313.

Gillborn*, D., 2005. Education policy as an act of white supremacy: Whiteness, critical race theory and education reform. Journal of Education Policy, 20(4), pp.485-505.

Handal, B. and Herrington, A., 2003. Mathematics teachers’ beliefs and curriculum reform. Mathematics education research journal, 15(1), pp.59-69.

Healy, J.D., 2003. Excess winter mortality in Europe: a cross country analysis identifying key risk factors. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 57(10), pp.784-789.

Henry, M., Lingard, R., Rizvi, F. and Taylor, S., 2001. The OECD, globalisation and education policy. Elsevier Science.

Hershkowitz, R., Dreyfus, T., Ben-Zvi, D., Friedlander, A., Hadas, N., Resnick, T., Tabach, M. and Schwarz, B., 2002. Mathematics curriculum development for computerized environments: A designer-researcher-teacher-learner activity. Handbook of international research in mathematics education, pp.657-694.

Heywood, J., 2005. Engineering education: Research and development in curriculum and instruction. John Wiley and Sons.

Holmes, J. and Adams, J.W., 2006. Working memory and children’s mathematical skills: Implications for mathematical development and mathematics curricula. Educational Psychology, 26(3), pp.339-366.

Hoyles, C. and Lagrange, J.B., 2010. Mathematics education and technology: Rethinking the terrain. Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Lorenzoni, I., Nicholson-Cole, S. and Whitmarsh, L., 2007. Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications. Global environmental change, 17(3-4), pp.445-459.

Marsh, C.J., 2009. Key concepts for understanding curriculum. Routledge.

Mullis, I.V., Martin, M.O., Foy, P. and Arora, A., 2012. TIMSS 2011 international results in mathematics. International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. Herengracht 487, Amsterdam, 1017 BT, The Netherlands.

Priestley, M. and Humes, W., 2010. The development of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: amnesia and déjà vu. Oxford Review of Education, 36(3), pp.345-361.

Rowlands, S. and Carson, R., 2002. Where would formal, academic mathematics stand in a curriculum informed by ethnomathematics? A critical review of ethnomathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 50(1), pp.79-102.

Sahlberg, P., 2007. Education policies for raising student learning: The Finnish approach. Journal of Education Policy, 22(2), pp.147-171.

Slavin, R.E., 2002. Evidence-based education policies: Transforming educational practice and research. Educational researcher, 31(7), pp.15-21.

Unit, S.E. and Britain, G., 2001. Preventing social exclusion. London: Cabinet Office.

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