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Sixth Form Teachers Selfish and Greedy Says Sir Michael Wilshaw

December 10, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips

Content selfish career advicefrom head teachers ew.edu

Head teachers are giving students "selfish" career advice, says Head of Ofsted

A recent article in The Telegraph reported on some rather scathing criticism by Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) of sixth form teachers and of other problems in education that are not being resolved. Sir Michael was speaking before the Social Mobility Committee of the House of Lords, as he placed blame squarely on the shoulders of teachers, the government and businesses.

Selfish Career Advice

Because head teachers are concerned about their budgets, Wilshaw states that they are giving many students very poor career advice, encouraging them to stay in sixth form when they should be pursuing a more vocationally-oriented program. Because funding is based on the number of students (a set amount per pupil), head teachers are giving very selfish advice, he says.

But head teachers, according to Wilshaw, are not the only ones to blame. The government is doing far too little to promote and provide support for better and more suitable apprenticeship programs and to mandate that schools better inform students about vocational options. Otherwise, he said, students are being funneled into sixth form who would be much better served in vocational apprenticeships.

And the blame did not stop there. Sir Michael went on to say that the current apprenticeship programs are abysmal and of very poor quality, noting that only 5% of youth are going into apprenticeships at the age of 16. This figure was based on a report published by Ofsted a little more than a month ago.

Speaking to the House of Lords Social Mobility Committee

In his report to the Social Mobility Committee, Sir Michael also stated that on 3% of the existing apprenticeships are being filled with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is deplorable, he stated, because these are the very students who need to understand their options for vocational training and the good-paying jobs that follow, if the apprenticeships are worthwhile.

The recommendation to the Committee was that every school should have a staff member whose specific role it is to co-ordinate career education for its students.

Employers Share the Blame

Another part of the blame belongs to employers who have not taken appropriate “ownership” of apprenticeship programs, who have not developed valuable programs, and who have not gone into the schools and provided students with information about the options they should have for vocational training.

Dis-Service to an Entire Generation of Students

Sir Michael clearly warned anyone who was listening. Emphasis on pushing students into a college preparatory program when those students will clearly not go on to college, leaves those students with no means of making a decent living. Earlier government figures already show that these young people have an unemployment rate 3 times higher than adults. They simply have no training for the jobs that are available.

What Sir Michael wants if for the government to place as much emphasis on promoting and funding vocational training and apprenticeships as it does funding education for those students who will and should go to university. “It’s up to government as well to say we’re going to promote both. A successful school is about developing both and making that a strong political issue, and perhaps government hasn’t done that as successfully as it should have done.” The goal, he says, is to ensure that all students are given a path to employment – either through college preparatory programs or through vocational training and apprenticeships.

More Harsh Words

Sir Michael was not yet finished. Toward the end of his speech before the Social Mobility Committee, he criticized the fact that children in poor neighborhoods are receiving a clearly inferior education and that much more needed to be done to provide support and funding to improve those schools.

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