CBI demands action on poor educational standards of school-leavers

The government is failing to deliver on its promises to raise standards and eradicate literacy and numeracy problems, the CBI has warned.

The education system is letting down too many school-leavers by failing to teach them the rudimentary arithmetic, reading and writing skills they need to succeed at work, the employers’ body said.

CBI research shows that almost half of employers (42%) say they are unhappy with the basic skill levels of school-leavers and 50% believe teenagers do not have sufficient communication, team-working and problem-solving abilities.

The CBI said this means employers have to pay for remedial lessons for new recruits on top of the taxes they have already paid to fund the education system.

CBI director general, Sir Digby Jones, said: “We welcomed the government’s pledge of a ‘relentless drive’ to raise standards and eradicate illiteracy and innumeracy but there has been no clear action to back up the promises of February’s education White Paper.

“We need to see action as well as words – at the moment the UK economy is losing up to £10bn a year because of poor basic skills, while our school-leavers are held back from fulfilling their potential.”

“Too many emerge from our education system with no feeling of self-worth – leading to social dislocation, crime and wasted futures,” he added.

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