Education in the UK consists of primary education, secondary education, further education and higher education. It is a legal requirement for children to attend primary and secondary school from about 5 years old until 16 years old. Education follows a national curriculum between these years which is split into 4 key stages. Further Education is voluntary when students have the option to take their A-Levels, GNVQ’s, BTEC’s or other such qualifications. UK students planning to go to college or university must complete further education. Higher Education which is also voluntary involves entry to college or university. Students with special educations needs should be assessed and where possible be supported to learn within mainstream schools. Special education needs schools facilitate learning for those whose needs cannot be met in mainstream schools. However, there are fewer options for students with special education needs at further education level.
Each education sector has its own set of challenges related to funding, training and recruitment issues. One of the main difficulties facing all sectors is the number of teachers leaving the profession, especially those newly qualified. Although the Department of Education has developed a strategy to address some of these issues, it is difficult to ascertain how much impact it will have. The rise in the population of school children which affected primary schools over the last several years has now plateaued, but the pressure has now turned to secondary schools who will face the biggest challenge over the coming years with 15,000 more teachers needed between 2018 and 2025 to meet a 15 per cent rise in pupil numbers.
It is well known that teachers want more work flexibility to fit in with a work/life balance; nearly a quarter of current teachers wanted to reduce their hours according to a recent survey. Schools must make efforts to accommodate more part-time roles to attract and retain staff for the future. Both teaching candidates and education establishments are now more than ever reliant on the expertise of education recruitment agencies to facilitate finding the right job for the right person.