9 September 2014

  |  CBI Press Team


Without real leadership educational reforms will fall flat

Speaking at the Royal Society today, Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, will stress the importance of leadership in creating a world-beating education system, producing young people with not just academic qualities, but the attitudes and behaviours to succeed in life.

Without real leadership educational reforms will fall flat

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On leadership from Government and its agencies, she will say:
“Frankly it is not enough to just pass responsibility to headteachers and to toughen exams. A clear vision, is needed to encourage a complete cultural change; without it we run the risk of reforms to the system falling flat. We’re calling on the new Secretary of State to embrace this opportunity to effect a much-needed transformation.
“Government agencies can also lead the way by Ofsted ensuring academic progress and the development of character are both prioritised by schools. This also stretches to Ofqual where some of the recent exam reforms have been simply wrong, even if well-intentioned.
“Dropping the assessment of speaking and listening skills from English GCSE and removing the assessment of practical skills from science A-levels has meant that while qualifications are arguably more rigorous, they now risk being less relevant.  The answer to suspicions regarding the marking of practical work is not to just abolish the test, but to ensure the marking gets better.
On leadership in schools:
“Headteachers and school leaders are the driving force of change in schools and they must feel confident and empowered to deliver innovative and inspirational education for young people. Too often, this is not the case.
“I meet many great headteachers who do fantastic things for the children in their schools. But too often, doing the right things involves them having to turn their backs on what the system expects them to do.
“These leaders are the mavericks, the nonconformists, in our education system. I would like them to stop having to be so; the system has to start working for them and for the rigorous development of our young people, and it must do so without compromising on academic expectations.
On leadership from business:
“Businesses support schools and colleges in many different ways, but can always do more. We know that the more interactions young people have with the workplace, the better they are prepared for life outside school and college.
“We want all businesses to increase their engagement with schools. There is no more important determinant of our long-term growth, and we should start acting like this matters as much as it does. To support and encourage this, the Government should look at reintroducing work experience for Years 10 and 11.”