A Perspective From The Water

Today was quite the adventure. Our group began bright and early to make it in time for our morning classes on United Kingdom’s education systems, specifically England’s at Birmingham City University (BCU). Afterwards, we headed to the Birmingham canal which runs through the whole city. The, to finish off the evening, we went into more depth about partnerships between education systems and agencies to support children and their families. While it was another busy day, my favorite part was enjoying the views of Birmingham from the water.

I learned a lot during the morning lectures on UK’s Education system and have a better understanding of the differences between the U.S. and U.K. systems. One of these include the education structure put in place for education systems to abide to. The order of structure begins with early education which included children from birth to age 5 these facilities include daycare centers. The second branch of education is called Primary education key stage 1 and 2, this includes children from the age of 5-11. Secondary education follows, which includes children ages 12-16. At that point in the education system, when an individual becomes 16 they have the right to leave school, however they still must continue some sort of education whether it is at a trade school or another system like that. Higher education includes individuals the age of 18 and higher. Within higher education one may receive an associate, bachelors, masters, or doctorate. In contrast to the U.K., the U.S. does not have as many levels of education. Students must also remain in school till the age of 18. One concern I have regarding the U.K.’s education structure would be the ability to leave school at such a young age. Why is this and what are the prospects for individuals who leave school so early?

Another important takeaway from today’s lecture was the session on how special needs children receiving an equitable amount of attention towards their education as do students with no learning, physical, or mental disabilities. The concern of families living in poverty who struggle to utilize education systems due to their skepticism was also a topic that arose from the following lecture. In respect to the children with special needs, I sympathize with those individuals as I have learning differences of my own and understand how it feels to be ostracized for my disabilities by students or mentors. As well as feeling overwhelmed when the needs I have are not met within reason. My question regarding this subject is for children who are a part of the SEND program with English as a second language performing better then students with English as their native tongue? Are students in the SEND program receiving instruction that would benefit others as well?

I was very excited for the canal tour of Birmingham. Back in the states I spend a lot of time in Annapolis, which is right by the Chesapeake Bay, so being right on the water looking over the city reminded me of home. While on the boat, hearing the history of England’s trade industries felt surreal. The co-captain of the boat explained the building process of the canal, its purpose, where the water comes from, and it’s meaning to the people of Birmingham. While viewing the different parts of the city I noticed a considerable amount of graffiti on the walls throughout the whole tour. I wondered why this location seemed to be such a hot spot for wall art. While today was very exciting, the time on the canal was definitely my favorite. Who knew a place so far from home could feel just as comforting?

Until next time, Cheers!

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