Providing education is one of the most important functions of a government. It’s vital not only for individuals but for the country as a whole. Without a well-educated workforce, a country cannot sustain a properly functioning economy. There is a danger of falling behind the rest of the world, especially as the importance of technological innovation increases. While the UK is nowhere near the bottom of the pile when it comes to education, we’ve still got some big problems. Anecdotal evidence from teachers points to a crisis in the school and university system and they’re often clashing with the government when it comes to solutions. So, what are the biggest problems facing the education system in Britain and how can we solve them?


Like a lot of political issues, money is a big factor. Last year, a group of more than 4,000 headteachers wrote a letter to parents, warning them that there simply isn’t enough money in the school system to run it effectively. The way that funding is handed out to schools has been altered by the government. However, headteachers warn that it is still something of a postcode lottery and children living in poorer areas won’t have the same resources as those living in more well-off parts.

The lack of school funding means that parents are often having to pick up the slack. When we talk about the cost of putting your child through education, we’re often talking about university. But it’s expensive for parents at all stages of the education system. This Irish education costs study from Zurich gives some insight into the amount of money needed to put children in Britain through school. Now that the schools themselves can’t afford to supply things like free after school activities and free breakfast, the burden falls on the parents. This means that children from families that aren’t as well off aren’t going to get as good an education as their wealthier peers.

This funding issue does, of course, extend to universities. Now that the UK is one of the most expensive places in the world to get a degree, the wealth divide in education is becoming more pronounced.

Sex Education

With stretched budgets, schools are having to prioritise what they teach. The new academy system also gives schools more freedom to set their own curriculum. That means that things like sex education have taken a big hit, with some schools not offering it at all. The ones that do are teaching an outdated program that doesn’t tackle modern issues. This is a particularly pressing problem, especially considering that sexual offences committed by under 18s against other under 18s have risen by 71 per cent between 2013 and 2017.

Mental Health

In recent years, the education system has been changed to put more focus on exams. While some people argue that this is beneficial, the evidence would suggest otherwise. The excessive workload is causing huge problems with stress, especially in children sitting their GCSEs. If that problem isn’t tackled, it can quickly lead to more severe mental health issues. Children that develop these conditions early in their life are likely to struggle with them for a long time.

If these issues in the education system aren’t solved, things are only likely to get worse in the future.

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