Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trouble at' mill

More than 200,000 young people aged 16 to 18 (10% of children in this age group) have virtually no hope of getting a foot in the door to the world of work after leaving school with no qualifications according to the Chief Inspector of Schools (OFSTED).

Ms Gilbert said that a large proportion of failing schools were in the most deprived areas and that poorer children still had the “odds stacked against them” in education.

Ms Gilbert said that failures in leadership and management and poor practice in the classroom were the primary causes of school failure. But she was critical, too, of the lack of aspiration often displayed by teachers when it came to vocational education.

But teachers’ leaders said it was “totally unrealistic” to think that schools could tackle socio-economic disadvantage on their own.

Martin Johnson, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Schools cannot compensate for a child’s family background - financial or aspirational poverty – or a local culture of unemployment.”

John Dunford, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that it would not be easy in a society as divided and diverse as England for schools to overcome social inequality on their own. “It requires action from central and local government in areas much wider than education to make this task feasible,” he said.

The report also highlighted concerns over behaviour, which was “just satisfactory” in 29 per cent of secondary schools, and about the failure of schools to give children a clear understanding of “what it means to be British”.

Am I glad to be out of it? You bet I am.

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