CBI Conference targets UK Education

The annual CBI conference i s underway in London and the lead organisation for UK Business has taken this as the opportunity to launch it’s campaign for calling for the delivery of education to all and the raising of the levels of attainment in UK schools.

The campaign draws on the CBIs report “First Steps” which brings together the CBIs work with employers and statistics on education  analysed by McKinsey to underpin a range of recommendations on how UK Schools should be improved.  The report in fact emphasises the importance of education clearly stating that better education should be the governments “overriding long-term priority.”

The management of education in schools

The reports objectives are distilled into  clear recommendations as to the management of education that can be summarised as:

  • A clear statement of outcomes for schools
  • Greater focus on early years education
  • Fostering parental engagement
  • Decentralisation of control
  • More support for professional development of teachers and heads
The approach to teaching in schools that these recommendations develops will support the CBIs most radical recommendation as to  what is taught and how it is assessed.

The curriculum for schools

The report makes it clear that the CBI sees the current approach to the curriculum and it’s assessment needs root and branch reform. The report calls for:

  • Removal of the current curriculum for primary school in favour of “clear goals on literacy, numeracy, science and computer science.”
  • Adopt best practice in the transfer from primary to secondary education
  • Review the exam system so
    • it is better focused on achievement at 18
    • gives better guidance through the stages of assessment
    • retains maths and English in both academic and vocational routes

UK Schools falling behind

The body of the report goes on to support these recommendations with data that indicates that the UK is falling behind in the teaching of maths in particular and the rate of improvement across the syllabus is poor and even declining in literacy.  The poor performance of UK schools appears even worse when comparisons are made between other countries as in general most countries are improving their education systems. Which when you consider the investment being made in education by successive governments it is clear that there is something wrong at the heart of the system and perhaps the CBI is right to call for a radical review of UK schools.

Social Impact

While clearly the CBI is representing the employers perspective the report emphasises the importance of education on society. A major element is engagement with parents in the activity of the school and educational process.  The report also highlights the impact of social conditions and the child’s background on the educational attainment and suggests that currently the system dopes little to breath the downwards spiral of poverty and underachievement.  Clearly attainment at school and subsequent employment or further academic achievement has to be a key factor in a fairer society and improved economy.


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Visit the CBI Conference site 

Sources:  First Steps: A new approach for schools. (2012)  Published by the CBI and available at: http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/1845483/cbi_education_report_191112.pdf

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