Schools are becoming 'exam factories' which don't equip students for the world of work, claims CBI

 

Education Editor

Schools are in danger of becoming "exam factories" - churning out teenagers unable to cope with life beyond their gates, Britain's bosses warned yesterday.

The claim was made in the official response of the CBI, which represents 240,000 business, to exams regulator Ofqual over the Government's proposed GCSE and A-level reforms.

The CBI is particularly incensed at a proposal to stop marks from practical experiments in science subjects counting towards the final A-level grade. 

It believes the decision - taken by Ofqual because of concerns over cheating during experiments and bolstering from teachers - will devalue the exam in the eyes of employers. Teachers' leaders are also worried it will lead to fewer pupils taking what is seen as a vital subject for the future of the economy because they find it boring.

In its submission, the CBI says: "The current exam system risks turning schools into exam factories that are churning out people who are not sufficiently prepared for life outside the school gates."

Under the current proposals, practical experiments in the science laboratory will be assessed separately but the marks will not count towards A-level grades.

The CBI's document warns that businesses are "concerned that the examination system in place in recent years has placed young people on a continuous treadmill of assessment". Young people were "academically stretched" but failed to show "a series of behaviours and attitudes that are vital fir success - including determination, optimism and emotional intelligence".

The CBI welcomes key planks of the Government's proposals, including the move towards reliance on end-of-course exams in both GCSEs and A-levels, which they accept will give schools more space for creativity and "innovative thinking". However, it is adamant that the decision not to allow marks for lab experiments to count towards the final A-level grade is "a step in the wrong direction" and "not acceptable to bosses".

"Practical skills are vital to supporting a young person's progression into employment or higher education," it adds. 

It adds that the removal of the marks for coursework from the final grades "would be a significant step backwards and could undermine employers' confidence in the qualification".

The CBI is also worried that the changes will only be implemented in England and could pose employers with an awkward dilemma in determining the relevant merits of A-levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Speaking at the North of England education conference in Nottingham, Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills at the CBI, said that the problem with the UK was that governments tended to think all they had to do was "change the exams system every couple of years and hope the rest (of the necessary reforms) would follow.

He wanted to see an encouragement of "risk taking in schools", arguing it was necessary to avoid a situation where 18-year-olds "whose mums and dads and parents and friends can help them out" were the only ones who managed to get jobs.

While the CBI likes the Government's avowed policy of devolving power to schools, Mr Carberry said that he is not sure this was happening on the ground.

"Too often when you scratch the surface what you see is power not being devolved to schools, you see power move from the middle tier to the centre and schools scrabbling around to try and work out what they can and can't do and where they stand as regards accountability," he added.

In outlining the proposals, Ofqual said it was concerned about the possibility of cheating and teachers over-marking their pupils' work in science experiments.

Today is the final day for consultation over the plans.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

SEN Teacher, Permanent Role in Ashford

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad urgently seeks a qualif...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

**Science Teacher Urgently Required for September**

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Science Teacher Urgently ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice