State comprehensives will be encouraged to run public school-style debating societies in an attempt to boost pupils’ speaking and language skills under Labour plans. This is from the Telegraph…
Teachers are being told to provide pupils with tuition in vocabulary, presentation skills, research and forming an argument amid fears too many children leave school struggling to communicate properly.
The party said state sector teachers should adopt tactics seen in private schools to ensure children gain a range of “life skills” skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Stephen Twigg, the Shadow Education Secretary, called for an expansion of cadet forces – a staple in large numbers of fee-paying schools – in a move Labour claim will teach children “character”, resilience and self-confidence.
He also said that all pupils should be required to take part in two hours of PE a week – reintroducing a school sport target scrapped by the Coalition in 2010.
The requirement should be policed by Ofsted who should get new powers to inspect school sport, he said.
The comments come amid concerns that large numbers of children are failing to develop key personal skills at school.
A study this week by the Communication Trust found that a third of pupils start school aged five unable to speak properly and difficulties are often ignored by teachers, allowing them to escalate throughout primary and secondary education.
Labour has been critical of Coalition plans to scrap GCSEs in favour of new-style English Baccalaureate Certificates in the core subjects of English, maths, science, languages and humanities. It claims the move will sideline disciplines such as sport and the arts.
Mr Twigg said: “Developing character and resilience must be one of the aims of a modern curriculum.
“It means having an exam system that assesses the skills necessary to thrive in the modern economy.”
He said that state schools should look to private schools by putting lessons in speaking and debating skills on the timetable.