Fiona ChurchBy Professor Fiona Church, Executive Dean, Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences

The CBI ‘First Steps Report’ calls for a more holistic approach to reform in education – wholesale review rather than the confusing patchwork of reforms schools have had to deal with over the past few years.

The CBI are critical of  the current system which  they say tolerates failure and uses a ‘conveyor belt’ approach to drive minimum standards – but does not meet the needs of every child.

The CBI recognise the need for students to gain crucial qualifications -but says that some children may take longer to achieve this than others and may need individualised learning plans.  They argue that the ‘end result’ – either academic or vocational – should be achieved at 18, rather than a rigid concentration on 5 GCSE A-C by 16.  They also suggest that all reforms should be aligned to a clear set of outcomes across ‘academic performance and the behaviours young people need to move on in life’.

Some of the suggestions made in the report will be welcomed by schools – concentrating on individual needs of children, encouragement of a culture of rigour in everything a school does, clear statements of the expectations from the education system, greater use of narrative reports on schools and a move away from league tables to judge schools on a more rounded basis.

The report calls for clarity, long-term goals and stability in the system – I am sure that this would be welcomed by all schools currently battling with the plethora of changes faced on an almost daily basis.

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Fiona Church

Fiona Church

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences