The Guardian is reporting that Sir Michael Wilshaw is to claim pupils who are less academic are being let down by a “one size fits all” education system that fails to prepare them for the world of work.
In what will be seen as a sharp rebuke to the government, Sir Michael Wilshaw will criticise the UK’s record on youth unemployment, blaming the failure to provide high quality vocational training for teenagers who don’t go into higher education.
He will say that educational provision for the many children who do not succeed at 16 – or those who don’t want to pursue an academic path – is “inadequate at best and non-existent at worst”.
Teenagers who fail to achieve the required C grade in maths and English at 16 “make little or no progress” in further education colleges two years later. “Our responsibilities as educators do not end when students fail to attain our targets,” he will say. “On the contrary, the written off and the ‘failed’ need our help most and we should never forget it.”
In what is being billed as a keynote speech to the CentreForum education thinktank, the Ofsted chief is expected to call for a more “inclusive” approach to education. He will say that too many young people are left behind at the age of 16, and are disadvantaged because current preparations for the world of work are poor and careers guidance in schools and colleges are “uniformly weak”…
“They too deserve an education worthy of the name,” he is to say. “The country cannot continue to fail half its future. The great comprehensive school headteacher knows that a ‘one size fits all’ model of secondary education will never deliver the range of success that their youngsters need. Some of our international competitors understand this probably better than we do.
“Their education systems are more flexible than ours and are much more geared to aligning the potential of the student with the needs of their economies. As a result, countries with excellent academic and technical routes have far lower youth unemployment than we do…”
The Guardian goes on to say that Sir Michael is expected to outline his own vision for a “truly comprehensive” secondary school system – not, it says, the “dumbing down” and “aggressive anti-elitism” of the comprehensive agenda of the 1960s and 70s.
Is Sir Michael right to suggest less academic pupils are let down in the system at present and should we be prepared to look at radically different approaches?
Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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