IoD and CBI slam weak key skills as GCSE passes surge

RADICAL changes to the current education system are needed to stop underachievement amongst GCSE students, warned industry bodies yesterday, saying that poor literacy and numeracy skills could impede future business growth.

Despite record pass rates for the 23rd year in a row with nearly seven in ten grades a C or above, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said that still only half of pupils achieved five good GCSES including English and maths, a pass-rate that would hit organisations’ ability to capitalise on the economic recovery.

“Whilst it would be absurd to lay the blame for every skills gap or shortage at the door of schools and colleges, continuing weaknesses in our education system are perpetuating long-standing skills deficiencies, particularly in literacy and numeracy,” said Miles Templeman, IoD director-general.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called on the government to address the low proportion of students taking biology, physics and chemistry together.

The CBI said the problem lay within schools, which rarely offered students the chance to study all three together, and that taking up triple sciences is the best preparation for a wide range of careers.

“No one wants gifted young people to miss out on future opportunities because they leave science behind at GCSE. The government must address the low proportion of students taking triple science GCSE as a priority,” said Richard Lambert, CBI director-general.