Dated: 16 August 2007
Commenting on the publication of this year’s A-level results, Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said:
“It is entirely understandable that there is great interest in the A-level results. Candidates are rewarded for their hard work and their A-level grades can be important recruiting aids for employers.
“However, as important as the results are, we mustn’t allow ourselves to become distracted by this annual hoo-ha or we won’t see the wood for the trees. Ultimately, what is of most significance is not whether the A-level pass rate has inched up another notch, but securing improvements in performance and delivery across the entire education and skills system.”
Official education statistics tend to paint an optimistic picture, but even these highlight areas of considerable underperformance. 40% of 11 year olds do not achieve the expected standard for their age in the three ‘Rs’, likewise 40% of 14 year olds, whilst fewer than half of pupils gain five or more good GCSEs including English and mathematics.
Miles Templeman continued:
“We need to drive up early attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy: it is crucial to later success. But it is also essential that we keep an eye on the bigger skills picture. 70% of the 2020 workforce is already beyond the age of compulsory education, so improving adult skills is vital. A number of reforms are in the pipeline, and the Government can make an immediate start by increasing business awareness of Train to Gain, raising the bar for the Sector Skills Councils and clarifying the role of the Learning and Skills Council.”
“The message of the Leitch Review of Skills was stark. The UK is running to stand still. The Government has accepted the recommendations and published its implementation plan. The priorities now are delivery, delivery, delivery.”