First steps are most important: CBI director
While the content of the recent Autumn Statement will have
impacts on us all for years to come, I can pretty much guarantee
that almost everyone under the age of 15 was oblivious to the whole
thing - and quite rightly so as ther is plenty of time for them to
take on the cares and woes of life.
They trust that 'the adults' are doing the right things - and
that includes were their education is concerned.
So where does business fit into all of this?
The CBI has launched a campaign that sets out businesses' views
on school reform, based on a substatial review during 2012 of what
works in the UK and globally.
Based on these examples, evidence shows that the best
- Have a clear sense of what they wish to deliver in terms of
knowledge and behaviour and align school accountability framewords
- Use parental and community engagement (especially in early
years), effective devolution to power to schools, and a culture and
ethos of rigour in everything a school does - including assessment
- to deliver the goal.
It's clear that low performance is driven by narrow definitions
of achievement that encourage a focus on the average and say it is
OK for a certain percentage of young people to fail.
This must be challenged as a bolder approach has the potential
to be transformational.
We must develop rigour in curriculum and better exams, but this
is only part of the solution.
The other factors that make schools successful - like community
support, good teaching and a culteure and ethos that extends rigour
beyong the merely academic - also need to be fostered.
ThThere needs to be a much clearer and broader statement of
This should set out the core and enabling subjects young people
are expected to master, but also behaviours and attitudes.
The statement should be long-term, stable and backed by
stakeholder, including politicians.
There are some key steps governments can take.
This includes defining a new performance standard based on the
whole person we want to develop, and a rigorous and demanding
accountability regime that assesses schools - performances against
this rather than just exams.
There is no more important issue than education.
The potential economic and social gain from getting this right
is enormous. We need a whole system approach to educational
I've said it before in this column and I'll say it again - "we
owe it to our children."