COLUMN: Guest columnist Abbie Dodson questions the school curriculum

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Education is the ‘crucial’ building block for a child’s future. 
Proud parents automatically correlate adolescent success in the strict land of academia with a high income, five-star accommodative future, and other luxurious benefits. But is this really the case? Whilst it’s true that a love for sketching founded in art class can inspire a future in architecture, or a culinary masterpiece cooked to perfection in food technology lessons can nourish the next young Jamie Oliver, there are other aspects of the educational system that can limit a child’s success. 
Consider this: education can often restrict or indoctrinate our younger generations and their own individual ideals, and mould them into seeking financial success – not pursuing a career for pure enjoyment. 
We are taught that the only way to be happy is to own many materialistic possessions. When jobs are presented to us at career fairs, we are only shown the annual income figure, usually highlighted and made bold to really stress it’s importance. I understand that having an ambition and having money isn’t a negative thing. However, I disagree with the way that school’s fixate on the sole financial aspect of their student’s future and not how much they are interested in said topic. 
Schools are a microcosm for young people, where they learn to understand hierarchy, social principles, and the concept of rules and learning. I believe that schools should be directing the children freely into a career which they will enjoy, instead of constantly reminding them of the economics of their decisions, and scaring them into making long-term decisions that they simply don’t support.

There isn’t only this misjudged priority, but also a somewhat testing curriculum. Despite being able to choose four options at GCSE level, the rest of a student’s timetable is somewhat dictated, with science amongst the compulsory courses. Some students who do not enjoy or understand science are at an automatic disadvantage. 
I believe that these ‘core’ exams should be sat by everyone, as the skills they represent are transferable and important. However, I think that the exams should be sat after two years in secondary school and should only cover the basic skills of the subjects. After these examinations, the pupil’s should be able to choose their own subjects, with none being dictated for them, this way, student’s have more freedom, and will perform better, leaving education with more relevant qualifications.

In no way am I denying the importance of education – I strongly believe that gaining qualifications can unlock a range of options, and that the compulsory nature of education allows all children to direct themselves and their respective futures. However, I believe in choice and I feel that schools can often eliminate options and freedom.