Author Archives: Anna Pitcher

I was never mad at the Lib Dems and you shouldn’t be either

Going through my final exams during a general election was heart breaking. I wanted to canvass and I wanted to write, but the only thing I seemed to have time to get involved in were political debates with friends and family, and it always came back the same comment: If you’re a student, why would you vote for the Lib Dems?

I remember the day that Nick Clegg supposedly betrayed his younger voters well. I was studying for my GCSEs when a BBC news reporter announced that a video of Nick Clegg apologising had gone viral on the internet and, although I was planning on sending off a UCAS application in a couple of years, I wasn’t angry at the Lib Dems. Yet it seems that many still are.

Going to university isn’t a right granted to us when we are born and it would be unfair to expect those who haven’t attended to fund a student’s education, when they themselves could be paying taxes to the government and improve the quality of our public services. Unfortunately, not every career allows people to work their way up and requires a degree, but if that is the type of career we want, then it is fair that we take out a loan to fund ourselves and repay it when we have the funds to do so. The reason for this? Social mobility.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 24 Comments

What happened to sending £350million a week to the NHS?

 

It’s been seven weeks since the British public were visiting polling stations to make the biggest vote of their lifetime. Seven weeks since naïve Brexit supporters believed that £350 million a week would be spent on the NHS if their vote won.

I’m from a small market town in Lincolnshire, where 59.9% of the population voted to leave the EU in order to ‘take back control of our country’ and yesterday (Wednesday) it was announced that, as of next week, our A&E department will no longer be open 24 hours a day. Instead, the residents of Grantham, as well as surrounding towns and villages, will now have to travel approximately 30 miles to Boston, Nottingham or Lincoln if they are in need of medical care at night.

The reasoning behind this is due to the hospital being understaffed, yet the United Kingdom has just voted to potentially stop EU workers – who make up 5% of our NHS and 10% of our doctors – to enter our country without needing a visa. It really seems worth it now.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 45 Comments

Why does the Tory Government want students to be even poorer?

If you’re a prospective undergraduate student, you’ll have been shocked to see a number of universities, including Durham and Royal Holloway, offering courses above the £9000 a year threshold, which has now been increased to £9250. If you’re a current student or have confirmed your place for September 2016, you’ll be even more shocked to find out that your tuition fees could potentially increase, after you agreed on a price.

When applying for university, both student finance and my school assured me not to worry about the student loans: I would only be paying it back if I earned £21,000 and until I was 50 years old, and I would be getting a lovely bursary to support me through too, due to coming from a low income family. Of course that’s all changed and I will now be in about £60,000 worth of debt due to doing a four year course and my reliance on the bursary from Student Finance England. With tuition fees rising, is there really any incentive for students to go to university in the UK?

Jo Johnson said that ‘higher fees lead to better teaching’, yet the QS top 100 universities is not entirely dominated by British universities, with only 15 English universities making the top 100 and three Scottish universities making their way to top 100 (all of which are free to Scots and EU Nationals). In comparison there are a number of EU universities making the top 100 which have no tuition fees to EU students, including Germany, Finland and Denmark, with others offering incredibly low fees such as the Netherlands and France and many of these cheap or free courses are offered in English. That’s a lot better value for money if it’s £9000 a year (potentially more) cheaper for the same quality of education and same standard of universities.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

What about the languages?

 

With the referendum already having had a number of impacts on the value of the pound and the political stability of the UK, what impact will it have on the education of future generations and, more specifically, regarding language education?

It seems that people forget what a huge influence the European Union has had on our workers’ rights and the contribution towards farmers, the NHS, Cornwall… this list could go on forever, but has anyone really thought about the ability for our children to learn languages? Language education is already at risk due to Nicky Morgan and the rest of the department for education, with the majority of language teachers having to teach at least two languages, with French being the main language and a number of schools not offering German or Spanish, despite Spanish growing in popularity.

According to the European Commission, the Barcelona European Council called for action “to improve the mastery of basic skills, in particular by teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age”, yet 14% of young people still lack basic knowledge of even one language and, with A Levels of languages rapidly decreasing, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a large portion of the 14% was from the UK.  Every year the news reports that the number of modern foreign languages is falling and does leaving the EU mean that this shall continue? Although the English Baccalaureate is going to be made compulsory as of September, what will leaving the EU mean for A Level or University uptake?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments
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    Thank you David Allen for the link, from there I have found the text of the letter from Sir Mark Sedwill (https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1165830/Brexit-news-Jeremy-Corbyn-Sir-Mark-Sedwill-letter-Boris-Johnson-no-deal-EU-labour ) and the...
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