Education 'fails to deliver skills for global success'

 
school exam England's secondary school curriculum needs a "radical long-term overhaul", the advisory group says

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England's education system is failing to meet the country's long-term economic needs and requires a radical overhaul, a report warns.

A group of academics and business leaders says a new cross-party body should set long-term educational goals protected from the electoral cycle.

They also want more emphasis on team working and problem-solving, and a baccalaureate system at A-level.

But the Department for Education said it was equipping pupils for the future.

"The secondary curriculum must support the economic strategy of the country" is the opening sentence of the first of 13 recommendations made in the report.

It calls for a new independent body to oversee the development of the curriculum in England, made up of teachers, employers, academics and representatives from the political parties.

It says the body would provide "consistency" and be able to take a strategic view rather than just concentrating on the electoral cycle.

The group points out that, on average, education secretaries have remained in post for two years over the past 25-year period.

'Emotional empathy'

The report, Making Education Work, follows a six-month review of England's education system by an independent advisory group, made up of prominent business leaders and chaired by an academic, Prof Sir Roy Anderson.

Start Quote

Over the last 25 years and longer there have been multiple initiatives from different secretaries of state which have not achieved the necessary improvement in educational standards”

End Quote Sir Michael Rake BT chairman and CBI president

Among its wide-ranging conclusions is a recommendation for a broader curriculum at A-level, which should be gradually changed to a European-style baccalaureate system to include the study of English, maths and the Extended Project qualification.

The group wants more emphasis on "team working, emotional maturity, empathy and other interpersonal skills", which it says are "as important as proficiency in English and mathematics in ensuring young people's employment prospects".

Sir Roy Anderson emphasised the need for a long-term view, saying: "Successful businesses have clear objectives and goals which they pursue consistently over time, yet changes in government make it difficult to achieve this for education".

"This new independent advisory group on the curriculum will build on the current government's efforts to bring in a more diverse range of experts and experience into the education system, and create a long-term vision for us to work together towards the interests of young people," he added.

'Apolitical approach'

Sir Michael Rake, the chairman of BT who is also CBI president, is a member of the group.

He believes the current system has failed to meet the country's economic needs.

"Over the last 25 years and longer there have been multiple initiatives from different secretaries of state which have not achieved the necessary improvement in educational standards," he said.

"It is therefore time to establish a cross-party apolitical approach to education to move on from our narrow outdated focus with A-levels, and to improve on the other competencies necessary for success, including the fundamental need to improve the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, which are at an unacceptably low level."

But the Department for Education said its "new curriculum" had been developed after "extensive consultation with a wide range of experts".

"Alongside wider reform to GCSEs, A-levels and vocational qualifications this will mean young people leave school with the skills and qualifications they need to secure a job, apprenticeship or university place," a spokesperson added.

"As this week's results show, our plan to fix the education system is working and helping ensure all our children have a secure and prosperous future."

The DfE also points out that its new Tech Level qualifications have been endorsed by leading international companies, and lead to recognised professions including engineering, accounting, IT and construction.

The Association of School and College Leaders, which represents head teachers, gave the report an enthusiastic welcome.

The association's general secretary, Brian Lightman, said it had been calling for a similar approach for some time.

"Countries that do consistently well in international comparisons, like Singapore, have a long-term plan for their education service that rises above political considerations and is not driven by the electoral cycle," he said, "and there is no reason why England should not be able to do the same."

It was also welcomed by Mary Bousted from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

"Teachers have long despaired of politicians trying to make their mark by turning the curriculum 180-degrees every few years," she said.

She also welcomed the report's stress on the importance of empathy and emotional maturity.

"Education should not just be about turning out effective employees, but also about developing young people to have caring relationships and to be questioning citizens."

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 288.

    If business wants workers educated to their requirements then they should stump up some money and create schools for that purpose.

    Only for those people who have left normal school though.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 287.

    Of course it does. Politics in Britain now is dominated by an Oxbridge educated elite who are trying to shape the education system around their own narrow academic interests. Technical and vocational education is labelled as an alternative for the less able with the result that we now depend on other countries to build our railways, power stations, and just about everything else. What a shambles.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 286.

    RE 26 Joe Pertinent. Brilliantly put!
    Education means 'to bring out' . Exam based spoonfeeding of facts does not make a whole person. Your headline needs to read: Education fails to bring out a combination of practical, emotional and cognitive skills. We must give room for general education as provided in a baccalaureate not release an army of drilled people who fit a narrow view of succcess!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 285.

    We could always go back to just ensuring all children left school literate and numerate and reintroduce proper 4 year indentured apprenticeships which are part subsidised by the state such as City & Guilds and EITB type courses for non university goers.
    Oh and of course properly fund technical and business colleges.
    Share the costs for the benefit of the whole country.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 284.

    Education prepares people for the rest of their lives. Not just knowledge, but also social skills and personal development.

    People are different and excel in different fields; accommodate this with options, but core skills necessary to all are: maths, language, and nowadays IT.

    A greater focus on core subjects; less art, music, media etc. would do no harm: they're hobbies, not life skills.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 283.

    263. Frostie
    Tough young teachers is about teachers during training, after only 6 weeks I believe. Plus it will be edited to give an emotional rollercoaster of journey, as opposed to what I suspect would be reams of quite dull teaching footage. To judge the profession by that seems a bit silly, like judging are army by the standard of recruits who haven't finished their initial training yet.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 282.

    The UK government's framework for Business is the root cause.

    Businesses should be ''rated'' and taxed according to what they invest in their employees, E.G SIGNIFICANT tax breaks for companies that invest in their People's Training, Pensions, Health, and Social care


    It's the slavering greed of Business Leaders that is killing our Society's youth...and the half-cocked governments that let them

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 281.

    277.Sally the Rothbardian
    3 Minutes ago
    I've answered ALL of your questions today.
    If you can't answer my mere 1 question, don't talk to me.

    Why don't you resort to what you do best: only asking questions, refusing to answer any, and using multiple browsers

    +++

    I use only IE.

    I don't see why you (and your partner) shouldn't pay for for the education of your own kids.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 280.

    I wouldn't recommend putting this shower in charge.
    Dilute stem subjects at A level so undergraduates in stem need summer schooling??? Pratts.
    Just what % of 3 good A level students go directly into work not further studies.
    The one diet for all students is the weakness in our curriculum not its strength.

    This wish list by employers serves no one. they need to back off.

    Speak to the students

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 279.

    I thought education was to prepare you for life, not just so that you can serve the false gods of the economy.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 278.

    Many schools have become "socials" where the teachers want to be friends with the pupils which leads to poor respect and discipline. Bring back the respect and get the basic subjects right early enough i.e. BEFORE preparing for the final exams. This should be pre-secondary and involves getting parental respect as well. Don't promise the world and then not deliver!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 277.

    267.CURTAINS 2012
    I've answered ALL of your questions today.
    If you can't answer my mere 1 question, don't talk to me.

    Why don't you resort to what you do best: only asking questions, refusing to answer any, and using multiple browsers (see @267 vs 258 5mins apart) to circumvate the 10min rule the rest of us honour, so you can bombard users.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 276.

    No mention of Gove anywhere. Instead we just get the faceless "Department for Education" speaking for him.

    He's always supported finger pointing, but when it's pointing at him he vanishes!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 275.

    HISTORY OF ENGLAND EDUCATION (recent 40 years, simple terms)

    Dats de way to do it

    Oh no it isnt

    Oh yes it is

    Oh no it isnt

    Dats de way to do it

    oh no it isnt

    Oh yes it is

    Dats de way to do it

    Oh no it isnt

    Oh yes it is

    Oh no it isnt

    Dats de way to do it

    oh no it isnt

    Oh yes it is

    Dats de way to do it

    Oh no it isnt

    Oh yes it is

    Oh no it isnt

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 274.

    It would be nice to have just one week when schools and teachers aren't being called upon to solve ALL of society's problems. Also, schools can only do so much to teach young people how to be "caring" and "questioning" citizens. That is what families and life experience is for.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 273.

    I have interviewed numerous candidates for roles with my team, in a large US corporation. Many have excellent grades, but no personality, social skills or teamwork skills. Those with these skills really stood out.

    Grades are important, but not everything. I'm more interested in the candidate with good grades and extra-curricular interests, rather than one with excellent grades and nothing else.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 272.

    alI i can say is i feel vindicated in deciding not to have children after reading these comments.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 271.

    My Daughter wants to Teach

    While taking 3 A levels She also took a 3 Diploma as a Class room assistant and worked One day a Week as well while doing Her A levels with a view to getting a part time job as a CA on leaving school and undertaking an OU degree at the same time.

    She has done all of the above , none of which would have been possible if She had continued with a full curriculum.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 270.

    One thing I strongly agree with we do need to take a long term view and politicians need to stop doing educational reform of the week every time they get bored. We need to revamp our education system but a bit like cutting wood we need to take a measure twice, cut once approach father than continue to just hack away at our at it with a rusty saw.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 269.

    These ''Business Leaders'' would do well to heed some of their own advice and invested in their own Company's in-house training

    20 years ago, a well run Business would invest time in its' people AFTER they left school... Management Development, Practical up-skilling, and provide continual support during their careers...

    A time when a Company meant something to its own employees of course.

 

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