Education, Education, Education
Innovation in industry starts with well-educated young people who grow into a highly skilled workforce. Education and training in the UK provide young people with the knowledge skills, work skills and creativity to achieve their full potential. Education creates opportunity, releases potential and achieves excellence, which also benefits and serves the needs of both UK and international organisations.
Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education and Skills
We have a clear purpose in our reform of the education sector ? a comprehensive, high-quality education system which will help each and every child fulfil their potential. Gone is the era when whole generations missed out on an education because they were too poor, disengaged or felt they weren?t able to achieve. Our great achievement has been to reinvigorate education and improve the life chances of every child born in Britain.
The challenge for all of us is now is to continue to create a comprehensive and tailored education system within schools, colleges, universities and through vocational learning for every young person. Importantly, we are talking about a system which educates children from the ages of three to 19, making the most of those early years and instilling a real love for learning throughout people?s lives.
We can?t do it alone, and it is the enthusiasm and support from every teacher, every parent and student who shares our aim which keeps us focused on the end goal. Improving education for everyone taps into a wealth of ambition and purpose which will shape our country?s future.
Our reform of the education sector is radical, because it has to be. Yesterday?s education system is simply not suited to today?s world. But our reform is underpinned by serious investment. By 2007/8 we will have school funding at twice the level it was in 1997. Crucially there are now more teachers in schools than at any point in the last 20 years ? 35,000 more than in 1997 and 130,000 new support staff.
We know that to keep improving, school leaders need to review their use of resources which will include thinking creatively about how they organise their schools; the school day and lessons; how best to take advantage of advances in By focusing on improving the basics we have seen what Ofsted has described as a ?transformation? of literacy standards in primary schools. This is because of our teachers, who have led the charge towards renewed professionalism and striving to provide the best education possible.
Now is the time to be relentless about driving up standards ? and not resting on our laurels. But make no mistake, creating the best education system in the world This is because we believe that pupils should be at the heart of the education system. Every child should have the chance to achieve the best they can, whatever their talents or background, and their education should be tailored to their individual needs, interests and aptitudes. That?s good for children, good for parents, good for schools and good for future of our country.
One of the biggest changes we want is to ensure that all our young people stay in education or training until the age of 18. We all have a role to play in achieving this ? to make education relevant, purposeful and fulfilling for each pupil.
At the moment, 16 is the age when pupils decide to stay on or drop out. I want the expectation to be that people continue in education, effectively raising the school leaving age to 18.
One of the biggest hurdles we have faced is behaviour. We have adopted a zero tolerance approach to poor discipline and it?s working. Teachers and other pupils should not have to put up with constant disruption in the classroom ? it undermines everything we?ve worked hard to achieve. There are many victims of bad behaviour and we have taken this issue very seriously. We want to give head teachers all the tools they need to make the right decisions and for parents to take their responsibilities seriously.
Together we can push bad behaviour out of schools ? and we are always welcoming new ideas of how to tackle bad behaviour. In many ways it is an exciting area where new and innovative methods are yielding real results. We will champion those examples to ensure that bad behaviour cannot remain the bad egg of our education system.
Every child should have the chance to achieve the best they can, whatever their talents or background
Finally, our reforms aren?t just about change for change sake. We have real purpose. Fixing what could be better doesn?t mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We are already getting some things right. We have listened to parents and employers. We know they have faith in performance tables and external examinations, for example, and we will be retaining them within the educational system. And I want to say clearly that GCSEs and A levels are definitely here to stay. They are what parents and employers want. They are tried and trusted. Far from diluting GCSEs and A levels we will strengthen them and getting top grades will challenge our most able children.
Getting the basics right, raising standards, creating opportunities, keeping children at school, creating real vocational options, and stretching the most able, will give us an education system that offers real opportunity to every child. That?s my priority. And I believe that working together with pupils, parents, teachers and industry means we can make it happen ? and make school days the best foundation for life and the world of work.
For more information visit www.dfes.gov.uk