First steps are most important: CBI director

Malcolm Hyde
Malcolm Hyde

by Malcolm Hyde, regional director CBI South East

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 systems:

  • Have a clear sense of what they wish to deliver in terms of knowledge and behaviour and align school accountability framewords to this.
  • 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 intended achivement.

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 improvement.

I've said it before in this column and I'll say it again - "we owe it to our children."

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