Employers criticise teaching of English

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ALMOST half the school leavers recruited to industry are unable to write clear, grammatical English, a survey published today has revealed, writes Fran Abrams.

Employers have told the Queen's English Society that even among graduates, one in six could not write properly. The society sent questionnaires to 1,178 employers and received replies from 250. Nine out of ten respondents said that schools were not giving pupils a sufficient command of English.

One-third of 16- to 18-year-olds were thought to be poor at spoken English, along with one in ten graduates. Half the recruits were unable to write a clear, well-presented report or memo and one firm in four was spending money on improving the literacy of recruits.

The author of the report, Professor Bernard Lamb of Imperial College, London, argues that teacher trainers, school administrators and local authorities should work out a plan to improve the teaching of spelling and grammar.