CBI’s Cridland calls for radical school reform

Ben Southwood
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THE UK needs comprehensive school reform, the country’s biggest business lobby said today, in order to boost long-term growth.

Boosting educational achievement to match the standards in Finland and the best in Europe could add a percentage point to yearly GDP growth, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) claims, adding £8 trillion to the economy over the lifetime of a child born today.

But despite some 35 “piecemeal” reforms identified by the industry group, the UK education system is still leaving many children behind, even during primary school.

While 81 per cent of students on free school meals meet Key Stage 1 maths standards at age seven, just 67 per cent meet Key Stage 2 standards when 11. The CBI demanded a “clear idea of what [the] system should deliver” – rather than its current “tick-box approach.”

To achieve this, the Department for Education should decentralise control over staffing to headteachers and give more lesson flexibility to teachers, while giving Ofsted more powers to assess and oversee schools, the CBI said.