Schools ‘still not preparing pupils for work’
Daniel Wyatt: outdated process
Scottish parents are worried that the education system is not preparing pupils adequately for the modern world of work.
New research found almost eight-in-ten (77%) parents in Scotland do not believe schools are teaching skills relevant to the job market.
The survey, conducted by independent insights agency Opinion Matters on behalf of Glasgow school Kelvinside Academy, found 38% of parents think the current education system is ‘broken’.
It revealed that more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents are worried about the ‘ageing curriculum’ and its ability to equip children for full-time employment.
Another three-quarters (75%) of those surveyed cited concerns over a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to education, while nearly two-thirds (65%) of parents believe that schools are more focused on securing university places than the best interest of individual pupils.
Meanwhile nearly half (45%) of 16-24-year-olds surveyed said they felt let down by career advisors at school.
The results of the survey arrive as findings of a Scottish Government consultation on education reform are due to be published in the coming weeks.
Last year the government launched a ‘national discussion’ about the future of schooling – with then-education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville saying it had been 20 years since the last big revolution in education.
Amid consideration of new agencies to oversee qualifications, the curriculum and inspections, it has opened up discussions about all aspects of schooling.
In autumn last year, the SNP conference backed the idea of a ‘kindergarten’ school stage for children aged three to six – a move which would bring Scotland into line with Nordic learning in countries such as Finland, where formal education begins at age seven.
The future of exams is also up for debate, following a major report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which suggested that there was too much focus on them in the final years of schooling.
Scotland’s chief entrepreneur Mark Logan has also led the introduction of more studies based on the digital industries.
Kelvinside Academy Rector Dan Wyatt said the school is keen work with the Scottish Government to help overhaul the curriculum and lead the way for alternative teaching methods to become mainstream.
He said: “As this year’s diet of exams begin, we are compelled to work within the structure and requirements of an outmoded process. Successful young adults need to be creative, collaborative researchers who can apply knowledge to solving problems that will increase business and commercial success.
“Pupils need a flexible learning environment where they can develop the skills needed to become experts, innovators and entrepreneurs.
“Scotland’s education system needs to evolve and we want to work alongside our new Education secretary, Jenny Gilruth and the government to help change the way we learn in this country for the better.
“Scotland’s school pupils must not be left behind in a global jobs market. We need serious change to deliver a well-rounded and future-focused education that offers practical experience and application of knowledge, rather than sitting and nodding.”
He added: “We commissioned this research because, we, as educators, need to be as informed as possible about the choices we make.
“The world of work has changed immeasurably and schools must break the cycle of laser focus on grades and university alone and embrace diversification and new methods that better prepare young people for what comes next – be it industry, entrepreneurship, technology, sport, music, or wherever they excel.
Kelvinside Academy pupils have already taken on foundation apprenticeships, which enable them to spend time learning vocational skills at colleges. It is the first Scottish independent school to offer the courses during the timetabled curriculum.