Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Teenage Army

Schools are producing an "army of the unemployable" as tens of thousands of teenagers quit education at 16 with no qualifications, head teachers said yesterday.

It's a problem I'm sure we are well aware of in Thanet and with house prices rising across the country and a growing shortage of cheap, rented accomodation in the big cities, the opportunities for young people to "get on their bikes" and find work at the unskilled end of the market, which hasn't been taken is much reduced.

According to a study from the National Association of Head Teachers, (NAHT) tens of thousands of children disappear from school rolls every year. Last year, 15,000 pupils in their final year went missing and more than 70,000 did not show up for GCSEs.

In deprived areas such as Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham, the number of children passing GCSEs has actually fallen in recent years.

Government guidance, criticised at the same conference, rather than addressing the near catastrophic teenage statistics, the Elephant in the living room, is instead looking elsewhere at a another looming problem and schools with large numbers of white pupils have been told that they may be taken over or closed if they fail to promote race relations and links between different religious groups.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, said yesterday the rules would be enforced by Ofsted, which has the power to sack the governing body or recommend closure if schools fail to comply.

Either way, whether its education or integration or both together, government is looking at a social time-bomb and no party of any colour can claim to hold the answers in an economy that simply can't afford a lost generation if it is to compete with the growing Asian "Tiger" economies.

One example for you. IBM is rumoured to be cutting 100,000 jobs, from Europe and the United States this year and will transfer these to a much cheaper Asia. The writing is on the wall and simply creating more public sector jobs in Europe will accelerate the inevitable economic train wreck. The new French President, Sarkozy, understands this and I wonder if Gordon Brown does too?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

When I attended Hereson School in the 60's there was a lot more on offer than the basic subjects.

1-Woodworking
2-Metalwork
3-Bricklaying
4-Sailing
5-Brass Band(during and after school)
6-Boxing
Not only did this give us useful skills and hobbies,it taught us self-discipline and in most cases teamwork.
Sadly,this seems to be lacking in some of the young of today,and will only get worse unless funding is found to institute change in both the teaching establishment and the workplace.

Anonymous said...

I can quite believe the story ! Every morning I pass smoking youngsters on their way to school. Within yards of the school gates they are puffing away on fags, many are already late (unless assembly no longer exists or school starts at 09.15) and they are very scruffy. I, personally, wouldn't employ them and to be honest, I doubt many of them are particularly interested in finding a job in a year or so. Can't blame the kids though, they are only taking advantage of the fact that there is no discipline and the politically correct do-gooders have brought us to this. Some mornings it is impossible to get along the road as the kids are playing chicken. I despair when I think that this is our future !

Anonymous said...

This Grabamint have poured extra billions into Education and have yet to learn that throwing money at a problem is not the answer.Many of those leaving WITH qualifications are un-employable as well, so the numbers are actually much worse.

Where have the £billions gone to? A flood of LEA visitors and latchers on (non teaching); 250,000 Learning support assistants (not teachers); expansion of Management (more Assistant heads/bursars/business managers/IT managers/ secretarial support etc); expansion of IT for admin etc etc. Class sizes are still too large and teachers forced into 90% of time spent teaching. A friend who is a teacher has only 3 periods out of 30 to prepare materials/lessons/ mark etc and is already burnt out at 43 years of age! He is required to monitor individual performance of 180 different children per day!

Our Education system suffers the same malaise as the NHS; top heavy and costly management systems to ensure the policies are in place to meet Grabamint and Ofsted policies whilst kids have no textbooks and sit in over-crowded classes taught by over-worked teachers.

Solutions: cut out the Grabamint directives; remove LSAs/LEA hangers on; have smaller schools; smaller classes; less managers; more teachers; restore technical high schools and grammars;restore special schools for special kids; scrap the comprehensives and one curriculum suits all national Curriculum and run schools on the lines that the Independent Sector does. You do not need to be an Einstein to understand that a teacher who has 20 classes out of 30 with 20 pupils per class is going to be able to give personal attention to each and every child.
Its quite clear that forcing schools through the league table system to concentrate on 5 A-C grades at GCSE to show the electorate that Government policy is a success is bound to put young pupils off!
I defy any one but the most brilliant, to teach over 200 different pupils a week and to mark over 400 homeworks (my friend is an english secondary teacher)and retain their sanity! He is leaving teaching after 19 years and I for one don't blame him.

Anonymous said...

Your friend deserves a medal, the only way I would enter a classroom these days is if I had full body armour on. Teachers get little respect and it only takes one monster to turn a classroom of kids into a baying mob of animals.

Anonymous said...

Bring back National Service.