CBI welcomes schools plans

THE business community welcomed the government’s white paper proposals aimed at reforming education policy yesterday, saying the government was right to focus on driving up quality and standards.

Susan Anderson, director for education and public services policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said: “The government is right to focus on raising standards in
literacy and numeracy. While many schools are already doing an excellent job, it is right that attention is being focused on helping young children achieve better results.”

Anderson added businesses wanted students to leave school with high-quality qualifications, which were both recognised and understood. She suggested an “English baccalaureate” could be a good way of encouraging more young people to study academic subjects, such as languages, which businesses value.
Anderson however called for a “more determined” focus on ensuring students study the three sciences separately at GCSE in order to be better prepared to study the subjects at A-level.

The white paper, unveiled by education secretary Michael Gove, includes proposals to make foreign languages compulsory until the age of 16.

It puts forward plans to reform league tables so schools would be ranked higher for the number of pupils taking GCSEs in five core subjects – English, Maths, science, a language, and a humanity. It suggests raising the threshold at which schools are considered to be failing. And it lays out plans for a reading test for six-year-olds; radical reform of teacher training and possible reform of “modular” GCSEs, which include coursework, in favour of “linear” exams taken after two years of study.