‘Outstanding’ ratings by education watchdog Ofsted should only be given to schools that can demonstrate excellence in creative and technical teaching as well as in academic subjects, says a new report by the Edge Foundation published today (29 November 2018).
The report, the third in a series of bulletins entitled Skills Shortages in the UK Economy, highlights how the rate of growth for both creative and STEM occupations is double the average across the economy, yet the number of school children taking GCSEs in creative and technical subjects has fallen dramatically.
- There will be additional 119,500 creative jobs by 2024
- GCSE entries in creative subjects has fallen by 20 per cent (77,000) since 2010
- Research by the Creative Industries Federation found 80 per cent of employers believe that skills shortages will increase in the next 3-5 years.
The introduction of the EBacc – which doesn’t include any creative or technical subjects – leaves many students with no space in their timetable for subjects such as Design and Technology, art, music or drama, despite these subjects being recognised as helping young people to develop the interpersonal, cognitive and systems skills which employers in the sector are demanding.
The report’s author, Edge’s Director of Policy and Research, Olly Newton, commented:
‘What our reports consistently show is that government policy is completely out of step what industry, employers and young people themselves want and need. Over half of employers (60%) value broader skills such as problem solving, which the exam factory mentality imposed on schools by the league table system does not encourage.
Because this urgently needs to be addressed, we are supporting the Creative Industries Federation recommendation that Ofsted should only give the ‘outstanding’ grade to schools where creative and technical subjects are held in the same esteem as their academic counterparts and invested with the same value.
‘We know the government recognises the skills shortage in the creative sector, but it seems unable or stubbornly unwilling to recognise that its education policy is actually cutting off the very talent pipeline this critical area of the economy needs.’
The report also highlights:
- Two thirds (66 per cent) of employers are not confident there will be enough people available in the future with the necessary skills to fill their high-skilled jobs
- 75 per cent of employers say they value employability skills – communication skills, creativity, problem solving, resilience – as much as qualifications
- The vacancies businesses have most difficulty filled are skilled trades including chefs, vehicle technicians and maintenance fitters.