ASCL responds to NFER report on essential skills for tomorrow’s workforce

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders and member of the Strategic Advisory Board for the NFER’s The Skills Imperative 2035 programme, responds to a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), which warns that urgent action is needed to prevent skills shortages.
“This research highlights the need to regularly review what and how pupils are taught, to ensure they have the knowledge and skills they need to thrive both now and in the future. It suggests that the ability to analyse, create and communicate are skills that are much more in demand than being able to memorise vast amounts of information. GCSEs in their current form, following government reforms introduced in the name of academic rigour, involve young people having to take a large number of terminal exams and require students to retain and recall large amounts of information. This approach looks increasingly outdated.
“We need to consider ways in which we can enable young people to develop a wide range of skills, including analysis and critical thinking, how we evaluate these, and how a blend of academic and vocational subjects might best prepare young people for the modern digital economy where change is rapid and constant.”