A new approach for our schools
There is no more important issue facing this country than education. Our ambition for our nation's children will determine how our society, economy and country performs in years to come.
Better education could add up to one percent to UK growth every year.
But, more importantly, education is the best way to set children up for life. To give them a proper grounding in the things that help them lead fulfilled lives, get good jobs, and make their way in the world.
By the age of 4, the poorest children in our country will have heard 32 million fewer words than families from professional backgrounds. A year later, their vocabulary will have fallen a year behind. And by 11, only two thirds will be reaching the level of maths they need to be at.
From primary schools to when children leave education, we have seen a long conveyor belt that has tolerated low performance for too long – and children who often need the most support in reaching their potential are let down by the system.
After decades of piecemeal changes and political reforms, we now have a system that is focused on the average, where by definition half of all children don't perform well enough.
This must be challenged.
The best education systems from around the world have 2 key elements :They have a clear sense of what they want to deliver in terms of knowledge and behaviour, and then they make sure everything they do is aimed at achieving those goals.
A broader, bolder approach to education in the UK has the potential to be transformational.
We need a much clearer and broader statement of intended achievement for our school systems – in terms of the subjects young people are expected to master, but also the behaviours and attitudes they need to succeed.
And then we need to get parents, teachers and educational leaders right behind these goals to raise expectations for every child in our country and give them what they need to make the most of their life.
To achieve this vision for education and give everyone the chance to succeed, we need to act so that:
This report deals with the most important part of the UK's long-term growth strategy - improving education. As our work sets out, the potential economic gain from getting this right is enormous, yet today we have a system where a large minority of our young people fall behind early and never catch up. This is not acceptable. John Cridland, CBI director-general