Headlines: December 8th, 1998

An OFSTED survey has found that only a quarter of all secondary schools have a quality programme for preparing pupils for the world of work.The Office of Standards in Education, a non-ministerial government department responsible for the inspection of all schools in England, says many pupils are insufficiently prepared to make the important economic decisions that will affect them either as an employee or generally.

It says that careers education and guidance in one in five schools is poor, work experience is an appropriate challenge but not capitalised upon once pupils return to school, and that only one in ten schools makes a determined effort to improve its teachers’ understanding of business and industry.

OFSTED finds that where this is a priority, the impact on pupils’ knowledge of the requirements of working life improves. It recommends that teachers be offered more opportunities to become better informed about business and its requirements from employees, that work-related aspects of the curriculum be strengthened, careers guidance improved, and that all pupils are taught basic workplace economics.

The report, Work Related Aspects of the Curriculum in Secondary Schools, (ref. HMI 160) is available free of charge from the OFSTED Publications Centre, PO Box 6927, London E3 3NZ. Telephone: 0171 510 0180.