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Comparison of School A and School B Teaching Practices

Abstract

There exist different education systems, and the UK education system is based on the resources available in that particular region. However, schools offering the same education system may implement varying teaching practices. This paper provides a resounding comparative and contrasting analysis of the practices in different schools, school A and B located in the UK. The evaluation is based on the achievement of pupils and the personal development, behavior, and welfare of pupils. It is crucial to note that both schools share similar characteristics such as following specific values and setting guidelines or policies for both teachers and students. They also have curriculums aimed at developing and growing educated and responsible individuals. However, students of the two learning institutions demonstrate different performance both academically and personally. Therefore, school A, B, and others educational institutions should find better and improved strategies to streamline their curricula and incorporate new educational activities to enhance overall education outcomes within the UK education system.

Comparison of School A and School B Teaching Practices

Introduction

There exist diverse education systems, which are mainly based on the resources available at a given area. The UK education system is used in countries across the globe, especially Europe, and for the long time, it has proved to show high-quality education results and standards. Although it might seem bewildering, it is based on long-lived traditions and follows strict rules (Wolf 2016). A numerous states apply the UK education system to ensure they provide a transformative education to their students. There are also controversies surrounding the viability of UK's higher education system. It is considered that although expensive it fails to meet the expectations or needs of the students and the general economy (Wolf 2016, p.73). The schools in the UK are either state schools, owned and funded by the government and are free for all students, or privately owned. The independent schools support their operations from fees charged from parents. There system consists of four levels: primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education. All the education levels have experienced extreme transformation and rapid changes since the emergence of neo-liberalism in the 1970s (Radice 2013). All children from five to sixteen years in the UK have to attend both primary and secondary schools. Regardless of the fact that numerous schools in the country share similar education system, they often differ in their teaching practices. Therefore, it is crucial to compare and contrast diverse school practices in terms of achievements of pupils and the personal development, behavior, and welfare of pupils. Although school A and B have glaring differences in their practices, operations, and education outcomes, they should continually incorporate new educational activities, and improve their curriculum and learning strategies to sustain positive outcomes.

Teaching Practices at School A

School A is one of the most outstanding schools in the UK according to Ofsted. It aims to improve the provision of education and learning outcomes and nurture talent and professionalism among the youths. According to Johnston et al. (2014, p.880), a variety of factors that influence learning outcomes include the child’s mental health as well as personal and family characteristics. However, it is important to provide guidelines that could help all children become better. School A follows specific policies, values, and also has an advanced curriculum that helps students succeed academically. Also, the values enable learners to experience personal development in their behavior and life in general (Johnston et al. 2014).

The School’s Core Values

School A implements its values following its desire to aspire, enjoy, and achieve. All individuals on the premises are encouraged and wholly supported to do their best. It also focuses on students’ experience both inside and outside the classroom or school in general. The teaching practices applied inspire children to put in more efforts in class and outside the school and take on new challenges that create opportunities for personal growth (Johnston et al. 2014). Apart from that, the teaching practices enhances self-reflection among its students through understanding how their actions can impact other individuals.

School A encourages its students to enjoy their time at school by showing respect for other people (Gutman & Vorhaus 2012). Also, it inspires them to be a part of the community by celebrating all the various cultural advancements and being stronger and united with other people. The school offers safe environment and makes its students aware of various dangerous behaviors and teaches to act responsibly to guarantee the general wellbeing of all individuals in the institution. According to Gutman and Vorhaus (2012), encouraging teenagers to enjoy school and helping them build positive interactions is a crucial factor in GCSE achievement. Lastly, the school also encourages all students and teachers to achieve both academically and in life, which might be done through good school attendance, punctuality, and being one’s best version .

Compared to other schools, School A takes pride in its emphasis on the importance of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law as demonstrated by its great student council and leadership opportunities. The school’s practices allow pupils to participate in the democratic processes in action, decision-making, hearing student’s speeches, and challenging opinion (Gutman & Vorhaus 2012). They are also able to exercise their democratic right to vote and engage in political matters to some extent. In general, the school allows children to learn more about the modern world and how to struggle in a competitive society.

Policies Implemented in School A

Like other schools in the UK, it has policies meant to help students become innovative and make the most out of school and private life. The school pays attention to the attendance of students. Regular attendance is important since absence affects learning, their performance, and results (Vignoles & Meschi 2010). If a student misses school or any class, the parents are required to report or call the school, giving a reason to avoid misunderstandings or reduction of marks. Apart from that, the school emphasises students’ behavior. According to Gitman and Vorhaus (2012, p.3), behavior management is one of the most significant factors that ensure the success of the students. Behavior management in this school is almost incomparable to other schools, as it reinforces and promotes positive behavior via recognition, praise, and reassurance, while discouraging inappropriate behavior through numerous support programs.

Another significant issue is the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) students (Jenkinson 2012); which presupposes ensuring that all students study and are successful at school. Students categorized as SEND are those with an identified disability, either sensory, physical, intellectual, or emotional (Jenkinson 2012). The overall aim of SEND policy is to improve the general education outcomes for all children by addressing their needs. School A also emphasizes e-safety, which encompasses Internet technologies and online communication. The school finds it imperative to make pupils aware of both the benefits and risks of using current technology in education (Jenkinson 2012). It also ensures safeguards and awareness for users to enable them to control their online learning experience. Technology also presents a variety of benefits to schools. For instance, it enables teachers to download the curriculum, track academic records and performance of learners. Secure transfer of data throughout the school and the education system is another benefit of technology (Sultan 2010). School A uses the e-safety rules along with other regulations related to bullying, behavior, data protection, security, and the curriculum.

The School’s Curriculum

School A has an advanced and well-planned curriculum that allows students to explore a variety of subjects and topics important for life as well as creates an institution’s identity and forms a resource center (Randles 2018). First of all, it has a key stage 3 curriculum for year 7, 8, and 9, which equips students with skills necessary to become successful. According to Sylva et al. (2012), key stage 3 curriculum follows after pre-school, and students cover such subjects as Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, and History. During year 7, students are encouraged to focus more on reading, writing, and communicating. The school believes that it should help students become more literate in terms of reading and writing throughout their school life. Moreover, there is the key stage 4 curriculum for years 10 and 11. At this stage, a number of subjects are compulsory. They include English, Mathematics, Science, English Baccalaureate, Religious Studies, Physical Education, and Personal Development. With the recent advancement in technology and innovation, it is recommended that school should add Computer Studies to its subjects. The aim of this step is to help students adapt to the modern society and be able how to apply various advanced devices and software in real-world situations. Such skills not only enhance learners’ performance but also allows them to become functional members of society.

The school also has extracurricular activities that help to keep students active and increase their overall scores (Vignoles & Meschi 2010). These activities include school clubs, such as music and drama, games, and sports. All these help students to learn and explore their talents after school hours. Additionally, the advanced curriculum helps students develop an understanding of what it means to be a citizen in modern Britain or any other country in Europe. Unlike in other schools in the UK, extracurricular activities in school A provide students with opportunities to engage with the typical British values of a democracy, which entail individual liberty and mutual respect (Vignoles & Meschi 2012). The rule of law should also prevail as well as tolerance for persons with dissimilar beliefs. Such involvement helps pupils develop and demonstrate attitudes and skills essential in the full participation and contribution to the well-been of their country. Students from school A are molded and prepared to be functional members of the society regardless of their status or background. They are given guidance to become their best versions before leaving the institution.

Through the application of policies, ethics, and values including a well-designed curricular, school A has managed to help the pupils to improve and succeed academically compared to students from other schools in the region (Jenkinson 2012). In particular, the institution has reported outstanding academic achievements of its students. Over the years, students from school A have attained some of the highest results in the region, and the progress measures are consistently strong. Many students of this school have achieved good marks in the GCSE in many subjects, including mathematics and English. In 2018, school A obtained an average grade in the GCSE exams, which is an impressive outcome, and it is an indication of an outstanding program. Generally, School A has attained very positive results, which are above national averages. One of the reasons for this is that it helps students demonstrate excellent levels of progress from their starting points in year seven until they finish school.

Success for students and the school is significant. However, the real value of a school is depicted through its ability to prepare and equip students with life advancing skills. School A ensures that its pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their lives due to full-time education as well as receive training and employment. Their desire to prepare students to succeed in life surpasses many other schools in the UK, which is a demonstration of emphasis on careers education and preparation for working life. According to Leigh et al. (2016), bringing current workplace experience and practices into the learning environment empowers students to develop their professional identity meaningfully. Also, most of the students enter higher educational establishments, which opens more opportunities for a better life.

Teaching Practices at School B

Schools have different perceptions, and their practices vary depending on beliefs, objectives, and what they wish their students to acquire. Although school A and school B implement the UK education system,.they have diverse teaching practices, which brings different results (Vignoles & Meschi 2012). School B is a sponsored institution that was developed to educate about 16 000 students. Similar to school A, the institution has entrenched core values, policies, and an excellent curriculum to ensure good performance of the pupils.

The School’s Core Values

Compared to school A, school B promotes its approach to academic life through strong value systems, which emphasizes equality, community, respect, responsibility, high expectations, and achievement. In fact, only a few schools within the UK education system uphold such high values aimed at improving academic excellence and behavior of learners (Vignoles & Meschi 2012). At school A, equality means giving all students the confidence to recognize their worth and ensure that they have enough teacher time, including participation in the learning process. Equality in school B means that students are guaranteed to experience equal learning time and the same experience, which ensures that they attain success in the same range. Moreover, similar to school A, school B emphasizes on developing a sense of community, which presupposes mutual support, showing pride in being a member of the school, and wearing the school’s uniform to create a sense of belonging to the community.

In addition, School B values respect where all individuals in the institution both teachers and students are supposed to treat one another as they would like to be treated. They demonstrate empathy and good behavior, value each other’s opinions and ideas, and recognize other people’s qualities. Apart from that, school B emphasizes a sense of responsibility. Taking responsibility for one’s actions and behavior involves understanding that there are consequences of their actions. The school encourages students to uphold good practices and discipline both inside and outside the school to realize excellent performance both academically and in life (Gutman & Vorhaus 2012). Teachers advise learners on what is right and wrong and explain the consequences of their choices.

What is more, school B goes to the extent of helping students have a high expectation both in their academic performance and life. Having high expectations in this school means recognizing the value and purpose of education and understanding the need for high standards in their work and behavior. In short, they are encouraged to strive and work hard for the best. Lastly, school B also views achievement as a value that needs to be obtained by all students in the institution. The above values are set mainly to help students to achieve what they desire and excel academically. Achievement means being part of a culture that allows students to succeed. The school also recognizes and rewards success not only in academic terms but also in other spheres such as contests and sports as well as positive or good behavior. According to Payne (2015, p. 483), a significant number of schools in the UK have adopted a system that rewards good behavior and sanctions undesirable behaviors. In general, the set of values in school B share objectives and goals similar to those in school A, as they aim to help students achieve academically, socially, and economically in life.

Policies Implemented in School B

Like school A, school B has policies to guide students on how to excel in modern society. Foskett (2010) believes that schools, like government, have a duty to explore strategies that would help the UK education system to produce skilled and solution-oriented individuals. An educated citizenry would help the country economy to survive in the competitive global markets. In their emphasis to ensure that all individuals receive equal treatment, school B is dedicated to promoting equality of opportunity and access. The school promotes equality of all students regardless of race, disability including SEND students, sex, religion, age, and sexual orientation (Foskett 2010). The school believes that excellence, inclusion, access, and equality of opportunities are some of the critical values that enhance performance of both students and school. Regarding SEND students, an inclusive special education program may provide all the key strategies needed to ensure their needs are met. The program aids in the provision of effective quality education (Hornby 2015). Equal opportunities in school B are demonstrated through the available formal curriculum and informal curriculum, which includes extracurricular activities and the hidden ethos of the school. According to Davies (2017), hidden curriculums are communicated through the culture and structures of the learning environment. In general, equality promotes positivity and drive, which makes students work harder and eventually, demonstrate excellent performance and academic excellence.

Similar to school A, school B emphasizes on positive behavior both inside and outside school. According to Goodman and Gregg (2010), positive behaviours and beliefs usually affect test results and overall outcomes. In that respect, the school promotes safe and secure learning environment where all students are required to uphold high standards of behavior and actions, which support good learning. Also, like many other schools in the United Kingdom, school B helps children to reach their goals. The school equally support them to acquire high standards of behavior, dressing, and work ethics. As a trust school, it has developed various support programs and encourages parents to help to uphold high standards of behavior both at home and school in order to improve performance (Goodman & Gregg 2010). In this case, good ethics is showing respect, politeness, and honesty, wearing full school uniform, being punctual, and attending all classes. It also presupposes being neat, following instructions, and being responsible. School B also rewards good behavior, which is quite effective and encourages children to abide by the school rules and obey their parents at home.

School B is against bullying either physical or cyber-bullying, which is is the wilful, conscious desire to threaten or hurt other individuals either physically, materially, or emotionally (Payne 2015). Bullying also refers to a deliberate act that causes harm to someone else and makes them feel distressed, hurt, humiliated, or threatened. The feelings cause depression and anxiety that has long-term physical and psychological effects. Hence, it is one of the causes of detriment in academic performance and behavior in many schools (Vignoles & Meschi 2012). However, school B believes that pupils must study in a safe environment. For this reason, all teachers and non-teaching staff are responsible for ensuring that students can learn in a non-threatening environment. Bullying any staff member by parents of pupils is also unacceptable. Emphasizing anti-bullying policies positive behavior among students, facilitating good performance that allows the school to remain one of the best learning institutions in the UK.

School A focuses on helping students uphold and exercise various British values and democratic practices. However, school B goes to the extent of designing a rule or policy that promotes community cohesion and prevents extremism and radicalization. According to Lander (2016, p.274), all teachers in the UK must teach students the fundamental British values to ensure that they become responsible citizens. Extremism refers to the active or vocal opposition to the typical British values, including democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, mutual respect as well as tolerance to people with different beliefs and lifestyles. On the other hand, radicalization is defined as the inclination towards supporting extremist ideologies that are mostly associated with a criminal or terrorist organization.

In school B, there is no room for extremist views, since exposure to extremism and its influence leads to poor education outcomes. Therefore, it should be addressed appropriately and as a safeguarding concern. Also, the school believes that a united and resilient community as well as safeguarding the welfare of the students facilitate the best results possible. While putting this rule or policy into the school’s practices, it is crucial to apply it in conjunction with child protection, information sharing, curriculum, and e-safety policies (Annansingh & Veli 2016). For this purpose, schools must enhance e-safety awareness to protect pupils from all the issues that arise from the use of ICT devices such as cyber-bullying and identity theft (Kritzinger 2017). One of the other factors that ensure the continuous progress of school B is its broad and advanced curriculum. School B’s aspires to inspire and ensure that all students thrive and succeed in all aspects of life.

The Curriculum in School B

Compared to school A, school B has put more emphasis on the provision of quality education to have the best outcomes. Similarly, their curriculum aims to develop children and young people through a wide range of enrichment and experiences, which enhances their broader cultural and personal development. The personality and character build-up would allow them to become competitive (Kritzinger 2017). The curriculum in school B covers all the subjects on the timetable. It also follows all the planned activities, which involve the laboratories, the library, the workshops, and sports halls even in the playgrounds. The curriculum is keenly designed and responsive to the needs and expectations of all students and the community. The school aims to give a broad and balanced entitlement curriculum, which allows students to acquire skills, concepts, knowledge, and understanding to reach to their full potential. Some of the skills gained include literacy, numeracy, communication, information technology, logical thought, physical coordination, information skills, problem-solving, empathy, experimentation, and interpretation. Jama and Dugdale (2012) define literacy as the combination of reading, speaking, writing, and listening skills necessary for reaching one’s potential. Conversely to school A, school B has a comprehensive, social, personal, and health education program that promotes both personal development and academic success.

School B also has a well-planned curriculum that is divided into three stages, unlike school A, which has only 2 and extracurricular activities. Well-planned curriculums are collaborative and apply tools that teachers are familiar with, hence bringing positive results (Randles 2018). The first stage is the Key Stage 3 after pre-school, which involves an extensive curriculum that covers a variety of subjects including mathematics, English, science, and PE, as well as humanity, technology and IT (Sylva et al. 2012, p.11). Teaching is usually approached using mixed skills and setting, which depends on the curriculum area. The second stage is the Key Stage 4, when students follow a standard core curriculum of English, mathematics, PE, and science. They also have the opportunity to improve their understanding and knowledge by choosing option subjects. There is the Key Stage 5, when students join the sixth form. At this stage, pupils embark on a two-year program where they study 3 level course including the A levels and BTEC Nationals or both. The advanced curriculum at school B ensures that when children finish school, including SEND students, they continue with further education and also are legible for employment. Given these facts, I would recommend the use of principles of learning outcomes, as shown by Hadjianastasis (2017), which would help the schools to decide on the actions the teachers and students need to take to improve performance based on previous achievements.

Conclusion and Recommendation

There are significant differences between school A and B in their practices, operations, and general education outcomes. For starters, school A is a maintained school, while the other is an academy. School A has better teaching practices compared to school B based on the number of students who complete key stages of the curriculum. For instance, over 254 and 203 pupils completed key Stage 4 curriculum in the last year in schools A and B respectively. Though school B puts less emphasis on academic performance, it helps more students in their personal development through its many extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, both schools cater to the needs of SEND students and ensure that they get the same privileges and also obtain the same results as other pupils in the institutions. Although both schools operate under the same UK education system, it is recommended that they should follow better and improved strategies to guarantee the academic, social, and economic transformation of the students. In addition to academic success, they should emphasize good behavior for all students as it encourages students to become honorable and functional members of society. Therefore, I would advise school A and B to embrace better and improved strategies, adopt a holistic curriculum, and incorporate new educational activities to sustain quality education outcomes.

Reference list

Annansingh, F & Veli, T 2016, ‘An investigation into risks awareness and e-safety needs of children on the internet: a study of Devon, UK’, Interactive Technology and Smart Education, vol. 13, no. 2, pp.147-165.

Davies, M 2017, ‘The risks of following the informal and hidden curriculums’, BMJ, vol. 359, no. 12, pp.3287.

Foskett, N 2010, Markets, government, funding, and the marketization of UK higher education. New York: Routledge.

Goodman, A & Gregg, P 2010, Poorer children's educational attainment: How important are attitudes and behaviour?. New York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Gutman, L. M & Vorhaus, J 2012, The Impact of Pupil Behaviour and Wellbeing on Educational Outcomes. Institute of Education, University of London. Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre. Department for Education Research report DFE-RR253. Available from: <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219638/DFE-RR253.pdf> [26 July 2019].

Hadjianastasis, M 2017, ‘Learning outcomes in higher education: assumptions, positions, and the views of early-career staff in the UK system’ Studies in Higher Education, vol. 42, no, 12, pp.2250-2266.

Hornby, G 2015, ‘Inclusive special education: development of a new theory for the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities’, British Journal of Special Education, vol. 42, no. 3, pp.234-256.

Jama, D & Dugdale, G 2012, Literacy: State of the Nation--A Picture of Literacy in the UK Today. National Literacy Trust. Available from: <https://lemosandcrane.co.uk/resources/Literacy%20State%20of%20the%20Nation.pdf > [28 July 2019].

Jenkinson, J 2012, Mainstream or special?: Educating students with disabilities. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Johnston, D., Propper, C., Pudney, S & Shields, M 2014, ‘Child mental health and educational attainment: multiple observers and the measurement error problem’ Journal of Applied Econometrics, vol. 29, no. 6, pp.880-900.

Kritzinger, E., 2017. ‘Growing a cyber-safety culture amongst school learners in South Africa through gaming’, South African Computer Journal, vol. 29, no. 2, pp.16-35.

Lander, V 2016, ‘Introduction to fundamental British values’, Journal of Education for Teaching, vol. 42. no. 3, pp.274-279. doi: 10.1080/02607476.2016.1184459

Leigh, J.A., Charnely, K., Howarth, M.L., Rosen, L.C & Gillaspy, E.E 2016, Innovative pedagogies that embrace technologies: debates for enhancing student experience and empowerment and modernizing curriculums. Available from: <http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/40799/3/Final%20Innovative%20Pedagogies%20that%20Embrace%20Technologies%2024th%20June%202016[1].pdf> [26 July 2019].

Payne, R 2015, ‘Using rewards and sanctions in the classroom: Pupils’ perceptions of their own responses to current behaviour management strategies’, Educational Review, vol. 67, no. 4, pp.483-504.

Radice, H 2013, ‘How We Got Here: UK Higher Education under Neoliberalism’, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, vol. 12, no. 3, pp.43-78.

Randles, J 2013. 6 Benefits of curriculum mapping. Available from <https://www.iste.org/explore/Lead-the-way/6-benefits-of-curriculum-mapping> [25 July 2019].

Sylva, K, Melhuish, E, Sammons, P, Siraj-Blatchford, I & Taggart, B 2012, Final report from the Key Stage 3 phase: Influences on students' development from age 11-14. Available from: < https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/14069/1/DFE-RR202.pdf >. [30 July 2019].

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Appendices

Both school A and B uphold specific policies and guidelines that aim to help students adhere to good learning practices for personal development and academic excellence. Some of these policies are as follows;

Policies in School A

Policy

Implementation

Effectiveness

1

Equality and diversity policy

School A works with other authoritative policies for equal opportunities.

The policy promotes tolerance and respect for all individuals and creates a safe environment where all people feel valued.

2

E-safety policy

The policy educates students on the benefits and risks of using technology.

It provides safeguards and awareness for users to help them control their online experience.

3

Behaviour policy

The policy enforces and promotes positive behaviour through recognition, praise, and encouragement and discourages any form of inappropriate behaviour.

It ensures that all students learn and work in a safe, favourable environment, which promotes effective learning, and feeling of being respected and valued.

4

Attendance policy

The policy aims to address absenteeism or in other words, support regular attendance.

Regular attendance facilitates positive learning and better learning outcomes.

5

SEND policy

The policy ensures that the needs of all SEND students are identified and assessed with appropriate intervention strategies.

It ensures high levels of achievement and effective progress, learning, and development for all students regardless of any special learning needs.

Policies in School B

Policy

Implementation

Effectiveness

1

Community Cohesion and Preventing extremism and radicalization policy

The policy is implemented by promoting British values and universal rights and building resilience among students, implementing anti-bullying policies, and managing risks.

It ensures safety, promotes cultural diversity, and safeguards the welfare of all students in the institution.

2

Equality for pupils policy

The school assures excellence, inclusion, access, and equality for all students, including SEND.

Equality of inclusion and opportunity enriches the experiences and lives of all students in the school.

3

Anti-bullying policy

Teachers and other staff members prevent and tackle cases of bullying and support students who are bullied.

It creates a safe environment that supports positive and effective learning for all pupils.

4

Pupil Behaviour and exclusions policy

The staff members implement high expectations and support pupils to achieve high standards of ethical behaviour, dressing, and work.

It ensures that all pupils learn in a safe and secure environment promoting good learning.

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