‘Our nation’s key asset for a future of sustained growth is education,’ declared CBI director-general John Cridland, in his SSAT Annual Lecture.
Education is ‘the number one issue’ chief executives and chairs of companies want to talk about, he said, which is why he has made it one of the dominant themes of his tenure as director-general.
Employers and educators working together
From the start he has been determined that these discussions are positive, moving ‘decisively away from whether 16-year-olds are up to the mark to a more optimistic view of what we can achieve together.
The role of business in this context is to set out what it is that small, medium and large companies need young people to bring with them into the world of work – and that’s not just exam results. ‘It’s actually about the characteristics, values and habits that last a lifetime. Businesses thrive working with young people who are determined, optimistic and emotionally intelligent,’ so the education system must focus on ‘helping them to be rigorous, rounded and grounded.’
Schools should be judged as companies are increasingly judged, Mr Cridland said. In corporate reporting, alongside the essential financial statements, companies increasingly set out their strategy and direction of travel; ‘not a replacement for the hard numbers, but adding context.’
A discussion forum after the lecture involved professors Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton; director Clare Chapman of BT, who hosted the occasion; SSAT member headteachers Sylvia Jones and Tom Sherrington; and members of the audience. Among the issues discussed were examples showing how schools and employers are working together to develop those characteristics that are so essential for the employee and citizen of the 21st century.
These themes are being developed in the Redesigning Schooling campaign.
We strongly recommend reading the CBI report First Steps.
Listen to the lecture in bite-sized MP3s:
Session 03 – Annual lecture, John Cridland, CBI (24m 23s)
Second steps: taking forward a new vision for our schools
Session 04 – Annual lecture Q and A (16m 10s)
Chaired by Professor Bill Lucas: questions from the audience, including improving the status and provision of vocational routes, parents as proactive partners in education, mobilising business engagement with schools, and the jobs market for those special needs.
Session 05 – Forum (24m 11s)
Employers, education leaders, and young people’s work-readiness: priorities for strategic engagement
Forum chaired by Bill Lucas, with:
Sylvia Jones, headteacher of Valentines High School, Ilford
Tom Sherrington, headteacher, King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford
Clare Chapman, BT
Professor Guy Claxton, Centre for Real-World Learning, University of Winchester
Session 06 – Forum Q and A (25m 47s)
Chaired by Bill Lucas: questions from the audience, including the teaching of technology, the factors stifling of creativity, and having the confidence to use the freedoms available.