“We have some great teachers and average grades are rising, but we’ve been kidding ourselves about overall standards. By teaching to the test, too many young people’s individual needs are not being met, and they are being failed by the system.
“Government reforms are heading in the right direction, but are not sufficient on their own and must go further and faster. As well as academic rigour, we need schools to produce rounded and grounded young people who have the skills and behaviours that businesses want.”
"The CBI’s proposals for children of pre-school age
Research shows that children failing to achieve adequate standards in primary education disproportionately come from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is already a gap of one year in vocabulary by the time a child starts school, between those from the poorest households and middle-class families.
To address this issue the CBI is calling for:
- The Government to target structured childcare provision in areas where educational performance is low, as this is one of the best ways to raise attainment
- Raising the quality of pre-schools by aspiring to having at least one person with Qualified Teacher Status
- The Government to look at tax support and childcare regulation, including shifting support to parents in the early years.
The report shows that schools which have more freedom, do better, so is calling on the Government to accelerate its drive to decentralise power to headteachers. Inspirational teaching is also more likely to be found in schools which have more control over lessons. For example, over the course of one year a good teacher can add eighteen months of learning to a student from a disadvantaged background, compared with six months for a less able teacher.
The CBI is calling for:
- A shift away from exam league tables to new Ofsted reports which assess academic rigour and the broader behaviours and attitudes that young people need to get on in life
- Every teacher to have greater freedom to tailor their teaching to cater for the needs of each child
- Headteachers to be given full control of performance assessment, reward, improvement plans and where necessary dismissal – and support to use them effectively
- A new commitment from business and community organisations to support schools by providing role models, advice and experience.