Education watchdog Ofsted has released a report suggesting that most of the schools in England are not preparing children well enough for future careers, which in turn is putting the nation’s future economic prosperity at risk.
The “Getting Ready for Work” report suggests that poor communication between schools and businesses, as well as a non-existent government strategy, have left students unprepared for future careers.
In all, the inspectorate discovered a total of 36 of 40 secondary schools that had been visited by inspectors were not making use of an effective approach toward career education for their students, despite a promise made in Lord Young’s 2014 report on the matter to put recommendations into effect that would boost the approaches taken in schools across the country.
According to school leaders, the poor approaches taken are due to overwhelming pressures concerning finances and curriculum time.
While some schools were found to offer work experiences to small groupings of students, the heads of these schools said that they could not make arrangements for all the students in the school because doing so is too time-consuming and was not practical enough to make happen on such a large scale, writes Eleanor Busby for TES.
Meanwhile, those students who spoke with visiting inspectors stated that the limited experiences they had with career education were typically a number of one-off events that did not appear to progress.
Enterprise education offers students the knowledge that will prepare them to be future employees and employers through opportunities to increase awareness of the issues surrounding business and enterprise, as well as possible solutions. In addition, students are given the skills necessary to make informed choices concerning their own personal finances.
The report noted a number of other key findings, including that inspectors could not determine whether career education was having any impact on students’ knowledge, understanding, or skills.
Work-related learning experiences were found to be typically limited at the key stage four, with business involvement in a number of schools putting too much reliance on the personal connections of teachers and parents, with some opportunities coming about only as a result of a parents’ connections, writes Judith Burns for the BBC.
The report went on to state that local areas were not well-coordinated, which created a “chaotic” learning environment due to a lack of strategy. Lastly, schools were found to typically push apprenticeships more so than they had in previous years, but parents and students alike voiced their concerns that these programs lacked quality and a solid reputation.
“The question of how well our school system is preparing young people for the world of work has never been more important. The future success and prosperity of the UK in a post-Brexit world will increasingly depend on our ability to harness home-grown talent and to encourage the creativity and innovation of our young people,” said Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Wilshaw said that the career choices made by students are influenced by the experience gained while in school. Because of this, he said it is important for schools to not only offer quality opportunities, but to also coordinate effectively with local businesses in order to allow students the chance to learn how such businesses operate. He added that doing so is of even greater importance for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“One of the ways we can bridge the social divide is by ensuring all young people have equal access to work-related knowledge that will guide and prepare them for the next stage of their lives, be that higher education, entering employment or setting up their own business,” said Wilshaw.