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Industry seeks to influence primary methods

Declining primary school standards are to blame for employees' poor basic skills, claims British business. Employers, increasingly concerned about low literacy and numeracy standards, say the quality of primary teaching is currently the most crucial issue for the future of the British economy.

The Confederation of British Industry delivers its unprecedented comment on teaching methods in a report due out next week, and looks at improving links between employers and primaries.

"We admit we are not experts in primary education," said Tony Webb, CBI director of education and training. "But we believe many of our current problems with low standards are attributable to primaries which aren't performing as well as they ought to be."

Mr Webb added: "There is tremendous scope for better links between business and primary education. Only 58 per cent of primary schools have links with business compared with 92 per cent of secondary schools. Children who do not master the basics early tend to fall behind throughout. There has been little improvement across basic skills in the past 50 years."

The report blames the "intense and political conflict" between traditional and progressive teaching methods for preventing the issue of standards from coming to the fore.

business links, 12-page pull-out

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