The top civil servant in the Department for Education and Skills has said too many of his own staff lack basic maths and English skills.
Permanent secretary David Normington said that, as an employer he could understand businesses’ complaints about school-leavers.
Standards had improved but were “not good enough yet”, he told the House of Commons education select committee.
The CBI has complained that one third of employers have to give recruits extra tuition in English and maths.
Normington told MPs: “As an employer myself I sometimes see that the standards of English and maths are not good enough among those coming into my employment.
“Things have improved, but I do not yet think it is good enough.”