High-stakes accountability measures and inadequate funding mean some schools cannot properly prepare pupils for their future careers, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has warned.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education says there is “strong evidence” from the business community that the education system is “not delivering the skills they require in sufficient quantities”.
Its report, published this evening, warns that careers advice is “patchy” – and particularly fails to serve the needs of disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and disability – echoing the verdict of another parliamentary committee in January.
The report calls for work experience to be made mandatory again, and adds: “In order to prevent the organisation of placements adding to teacher workload, secondary schools should have a clear structure for careers provision, with a non-teaching member of staff having overall responsibility.”
It blames a mix of accountability measures, a lack of resources, low teacher recruitment and high workload for creating a system which “stifles creativity and works at cross purposes to the government’s wider education policy objectives”.
The impact of accountability
The MPs and peers say that some schools are unable to adequately prepare pupils for their future carers because they feel “compelled” to prioritise spending in areas covered by accountability, and call on the Department for Educaiton to relax accountability measures or free up extra resources to give teachers “space”.
The report says it is essential that this is done in conjunction with Ofsted so that schools are clear on what they will be judged on. It also highlights the impact of the teacher recruitment crisis.
“The Department for Education has remained blasé about the realities of the teacher recruitment crisis and has failed to put in place a systematic and co-ordinated response backed by evidence,” it says.
The report calls on the department to make teacher recruitment “its top priority”, and says it should “evaluate the success of existing incentives and initiatives to boost the workforce in specific areas and formulate a clear plan to recruit more high-quality teachers across the board”.
It raises concerns that high-stakes accountability measures “incite fear and conformity”, and leave teachers with an unsustainable workload.
The report adds that, while the DfE had already made “welcome strides” tacking teacher workload, it should do more to publicise the recommendations of its workload review groups, and prioritise teacher access to continuous professional development.
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