MPs to launch inquiry into why UK schools lag behind other countries

The Independent is reporting that MPs are to launch a major inquiry into school “productivity” to determine why the UK lags behind other countries in developing workplace skills…

Details of the inquiry were revealed by Neil Carmichael, the newly elected chair of the Commons Education Committee, in an interview with The Independent on Sunday…

Describing the failure to teach workplace skills as “a very long-standing problem”, Mr Carmichael pointed out that Germany had introduced universal secondary education in the 1870s, while the UK had waited until the 1944 Education Act.

“We have been a bit too complacent about taking the necessary action to tackle the problem,” said Mr Carmichael. He said that the inquiry would look at how productive the education system had been compared with countries such as France and Germany.

Acknowledging that the issue was unlikely to be solved by one department, Mr Carmichael said the inquiry would be a joint investigation with the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

The focus on workplace skills is likely to receive a warm welcome from business leaders, many of whom believe that the last administration – particularly during the period when Michael Gove was education secretary – emphasised the importance of ensuring that every child had access to a first-class academic curriculum at the expense of vocational skills…

More at: MPs to launch inquiry into why UK schools lag behind other countries: ‘We want to be the cutting edge of education’


What do you make of this news of a new parliamentary inquiry and the apparent focus on vocational or workplace skills?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Policy.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The blindness to the effect of their own meddling is flabbergasting. Constant curriculum changes etc DIRECT FROM DfE

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The focus on “workplace skills” is yet another u-turn in govt focus (& therefore school) policy. This is the disruptive bit

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Said many times that schools will never prepare students for specific workplaces; businesses must take some responsibility

  4. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove This is unbelievable cheek trying to blame schools for low productivity when it is clearly a business/govt issue.

  5. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – Because our schools/policies are constantly meddled with by ever changing politicians who focus on own whims #nightmare

  6. brighton118

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove – Exactly ! There was some fantastic work done on work related learning in early 90’s. All stopped as cost ££

  7. brighton118 SchoolsImprove Teachers should use this opportunity to explain that it is the result of constant change and interference.  Teachers are forced to be policy/change implementers rather than profession developing their skills.

  8. brighton118 andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I was involved in the Technical and Vocational Education Initiative (TVEI).  It did much to raise awareness of general work-related skills.  So much so that even local independent schools started offering work experience.
    But the money was stopped under Labour.  Gove made situation worse by removing obligation of schools to offer work experience, focusing on a core of ‘academic’ subjects and promoting university as the best choice for school leavers.

  9. TW

    I wonder if the conclusion will involve headhunting more school governors and staff from business and elsewhere?  Fact – ‘Wild Search’, a “specialist search company” lists Neil Carmichael as a member of “the team”.

    But the committee will first be looking at Regional Commissioners to see if they have enough resources to enable them to force schools to become ‘sponsored’ academies.  I wonder what ‘specialist searching’ might assist in choosing a ‘sponsor’.

    The committee would do better by determining the full extent of the government’s squandering of public resources in pursuit of its destructive ideological obsessions throughout the educational spectrum not just in its failures in vocational education.

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