Most drop outs drop out by the age of 15 or 16. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that puberty with all its effects on the psyche of a young person is in full swing at this point in time. For the most part, however, it is due to four letters that loom like a gigantic iceberg in front of every British adolescent of this age: GCSE . This is the first final exam that every English student must pass in order to be admitted to a secondary school or to be able to start an apprenticeship. GCSE is short for General Certificate Of Secondary Education and means enormous for British teenagers Stress: learning stress, performance pressure stress and decision stress. GCSE critics say that a Briton is forced to make decisions about the future of his life at 16. Because if you fail your GCSE, you usually lose more than just a few exams: your future. According to a study carried out in 1999, the government had to agree to this. In this it was found that the GCSE is a turning point for many young people, with about half of them going downhill or dropping out of school. Anyone who does not have the motivation and energy for the exam will fail – and into a deep hole.
Casual jobs, stagnant development, substance abuse and even homelessness were reported as a result of failed exams. The vast majority of those affected come from socially weaker environment, so not income families (low income families). And: Many leave school without even taking the exams because they don’t think they have any chances from the start.
In response to the dismaying findings, the government took a number of steps to improve school conditions and ease the pressure on students to take exams. The universities also received government grants amounting to millions so that they could look for young people and do their part to make secondary schools attractive to students.
In order to support the children from lower-income families, Education Maintenance Allowances were introduced, a kind of school fee for 16 to 19-year-olds, with the help of which they can finance secondary school.
But the government’s main focus was on prevention,that means precaution. Rigorous concepts have been developed to ensure that students are properly prepared and can be prepared for the exam. The root of the evil lies in a problem that precedes the drop-out: truancy – truancy.
Also in truancy British teenagers hold a sad record: nowhere else in Europe so often been illicitly classes remotely, as in the UK. It is estimated that around 50,000 children do not attend class every day for no reason. It is mostly teenage boys who spurn the classroom, often from the above-mentioned low income families.Apply in addition to sheer displeasure as most frequently cited reasons for the continued stay of peer pressure of the clique (peer group) and fear before teasing and physical abuse by other students (bullying), have a problem with which German schools are increasingly struggling. Another reason for skipping is considered to be that many of those affected cannot read well and do not go to school for fear of embarrassment.
To put a stop to truancy on a large scale, the government adopted strict measures in the late 1990’s. The police were assigned to patrol the cities looking for tails. A law was passed. Since then, parents have faced fines of up to £ 1,000 if truants are found. Chip cards (swipe cards) for logging in and out have been introduced in some schools. Schools with good attendance rates received rewards.
In Stoke-on-Trent, the entire city practiced the Schwänz boycott in one attempt: children were not served in department stores and shops during school hours; Teachers who had free periods accompanied the police on their patrol.
Despite the strict procedure, the number of truants has so far only decreased slightly, which is why the call for fundamental school reforms is getting louder and louder. According to the critics, one has to change the whole system and not fight its consequences. Greater social justice is also demanded, more opportunities, especially for children from socially disadvantaged families, who would have to cope with difficult conditions anyway.