Stephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, commenting on the CBI report on schools said:
“This report illustrates that the Government is failing to do enough to prepare young people for the world of work and to succeed in life. That requires a focus on the kinds of skills and knowledge that employers need – both vocational and academic. But this report suggests that the Government’s planned EBacc Certificates are the wrong approach.
“When business leaders say his approach to education is wrong, Michael Gove looks seriously out of touch.
“There are a number of recommendations which support Labour’s policies. It confirms that Michael Gove has focussed on the wrong thing by spending two years tinkering with exams at 16, rather than offering all young people the skills and knowledge they need when they leave education at 18.
“The report endorses Labour’s plans for all students to study English and Maths until 18. All Michael Gove is proposing is to offer re-sits. With Labour, all young people will continue to study these subjects, regardless of their previous attainment, up to 18. Without this, we cannot expect our young people to compete in a global economy.
“The report talks about the importance of rigorous vocational courses. Labour has set out plans for a Technical Baccalaureate for young people achieving quality vocational qualifications. Currently, too many young people are studying sub-standard vocational qualifications, so we will work with employers to add new rigour.
“A focus on the early years is critical – but the Government is slashing early intervention budgets by 40% over this parliament and there are 281 fewer children’s centres. Ofsted should develop wider outcomes to measure children’s achievement, but the Government has made them narrower.
“The CBI recommends a study of routes taken by young people from age 14 – which is exactly what Labour’s review, being undertaken by a team of business and education leaders led by Professor Chris Husbands of the Institute of Education, is doing.
“We need a forward-looking and rigorous education system that will prepare all young people for the challenges of the modern economy. Michael Gove’s approach is narrow and out-of-date.