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Westminster Employment Forum

Yesterday I travelled to London to speak at an event organised by the WEF. The conference was about employability and careers advice. I was invited on the strength of a couple of articles I wrote last year about whether or not the curriculum was preparing young people for the world of work as effectively as it might. Are we teaching the things that will help create the workforce that the country needs? I know some people feel that it is not an area to explore. The government say the current curriculum is the right one and the qualifications earned will directly influence the way schools are judged. Who are we to challenge it?

It's a point of view but not one I agree with. I see Michael Gove has again said that one of his changes was ill judged. This time it's UTCs. If people in my position stay silent then we are culpable in encouraging a strategies which alienate a huge percentage of the population. I want children to do as well as possible in examinations - of course I do. But making them harder and then making those who fail repeat over and over again is not the way forward. We need to appreciate that the world needs a wide range of talents and the current curriculum does not gave a high enough status to some skills which should be nurtured.

Last week I re-watched "Kes". It was made in the 60's and focuses upon a 15 year old lad who was having a horrible time at school in Sheffield. School wasn't for him. However when he was dealing with the training of a kestrel he showed patience, imagination and resilience. One teacher was interested. The rest of the world wasn't.

Someone will read this and say "So he wants to create a world of kestrel trainers does he?". I'm really not. But I do want to see everyone getting something from their 11 compulsory years of education.

Phil Crompton
Chief Executive Officer