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
    +1

    Comment number 348.

    Education has always failed to deliver what is really needed, instead focusing on what politicians think is needed. Most businesses, and start up companies, need to retrain anyway, but there doesn't appear to be much synergy between market needs and educational outcomes. Start up businesses like http://bit.ly/1aCtXwD are helping deliver info, but joined up policy is needed. Not sure this is it

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 347.

    Readin', ritin & sums - that's wot we need.
    We obviously don't have it now - we used to, but that involved 'learning by rote', and we can't have that now, can we?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 346.

    @322 You could make the same point for educating the masses (and if people didn't "just go and get pregnant" you would have no work force to pay pensions in the future)

    @337 No, the point of education is to develop a love of learning and to encourage critical enquiry and creativity. You do need numeracy and literacy skills do achieve this successfully but these can developed at the same time

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 345.

    333.Cheddy
    Do you think parents should be able to choose who to remunerate in return for their child's education?
    =
    No, because people who work in schools should know better than parents.
    =
    I don't share your low opinion of parents.
    What do you think of this triumph of parental choice
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx6-PHKzHvM#t=8m30s vs the UK experience at 13:13 into the clip?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 344.

    340.Rob
    the OECD report also stated that the UK had the highest level of interference of all the countries tested.


    +++

    Politicians should be educated that they are still doing their job if they leave alone things that are working and resist the urges to "leave their mark" by fiddling.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 343.

    337. RitaKleppmann

    'Is the point of education to improve business? Discuss.,

    Partly in my view. Education is both to broaden an individuals mind & give them skills that they can use to fashion a career for themselves. A byproduct will be to provide an educated workforce for business. It's a symbiotic relationship - or should be - providing benefit for both the individual & business.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 342.

    The secondary education system seems to be largely a waste of time and money for all young people whose academic ability falls below the median average. Why should around 50% of our young be made to feel a failure, discredited and demoralised at such a young age?
    As an economy we should be findingways to get the best out of all of them, not just the academically gifted.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 341.

    We need a course on how to be happy while unemployed, training in stress control, form filling and understanding entitlements.

    Why, technology will eliminate jobs faster than this govt can create them.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 340.

    In addition to informing us that 25+ years of politically motivated reforms have led to a significant decline in our education standards, the OECD report also stated that the UK had the highest level of interference of all the countries tested.

    It's not that hard to make our education system work. It just seems our leaders choose not to do it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 339.

    Education is about knowledge, thinking and character, noteworthy not "economic needs". The welfare state is already subsidising employment through allowances to boost low wages; let employers tack responsibility for TRAINING (which is not education). We are a liberal democracy of free people, not a production line for greedy capitalists.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 338.

    What many business leaders want to have is

    - a flexible, compliant workforce
    - very low wages
    - us in the euro if poss, but EU most def
    - minimal regulation
    - mass immigration to provide a cheap, already trained labour, and keep the plebs' wages down and expectations low.

    The left have been very helpful in fulfilling their wishes.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 337.

    Is the point of education to improve business? Discuss.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 336.

    There is no business demand to drive education standards up.

    It is all to easy to import the skills needed from abroad at a cheaper cost. Very few organisations wish invest in staff development so the first step of good school education will wither.

    There is no impetus to have a sound educational base. Good education for educations sake is desirable however that takes political motivation.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 335.

    333.Cheddy
    3 Minutes ago
    331.Sally the Rothbardian
    No, because people who work in schools should know better than parents. Unless we are going to organise schools by subjects, there's no point creating a system where teachers are individually renumerated by parents.


    +++

    Parents who use poor grammar will not take kindly to being shown up by their better educated children.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 334.

    311.Sally the Rothbardian

    281.CURTAINS 2012
    You use multiple browsers to circumvate the 10min rule the rest of us honour, so you can bombard users.
    +
    I use only IE.
    =
    The facts, your 2 comments @267 vs 258 (only 5mins apart), disagree.

    +++

    I've answered your question. Do you (and your partner) pay for the education of your own kids?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 333.

    331.Sally the Rothbardian
    No, because people who work in schools should know better than parents. Unless we are going to organise schools by subjects, there's no point creating a system where teachers are individually renumerated by parents.
    Better schools get more funding, the rest get the same.
    Feel free to implement your idea in private sch, but state sch should stay "money-free".

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 332.

    Education !? That went out years ago when league tables were introduced. As school money is based on the number of pupils who can achieve grades in selected subjects all schools now do is train pupils to pass exams.
    Plus business should be training young people to do the actual jobs but that costs money and all businesses are interested in are short-term profits NOT long-term investment in people

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 331.

    327.Cheddy
    Do you think parents should be able to choose who to remunerate in return for their child's education?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 330.

    I suppose we must be failing in subjects like
    Lying, Tax avoidance, Ethics and self interest the stapes of great British Industry

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 329.

    Getting the basics right is important. I have binned many job applications because of errors in spelling and grammar. Sadly, this is getting worse year on year. I also sit on a university industry panel and engineering courses now have to run remedial math classes in year one to bring A level students up to standard.

 

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