Call for report cards to show post-school progress

24th July 2009 at 01:00
Social mobility paper backs pupil premium to ensure disadvantaged children access top jobs

The upcoming school report cards should include information on former pupils' progress after they leave school to put pressure on teachers to help improve social mobility, a government report has recommended.

Last summer, more than half of all pupils left school at 16 without gaining five good GCSEs including English and maths.

To combat this, the report says, the Government should introduce "destination indicators" and information to assess the progress pupils make between "starting school, leaving school and their destination after school".

The document also calls for the academies programme to be expanded in both the primary and secondary sectors and the axing of the Connexions career service.

The cross-party report, commissioned by Gordon Brown and chaired by former Cabinet member Alan Milburn, listed 88 recommendations to be considered by the Government, including calls for Ofsted to inspect schools' extra- curricular provision.

The report backed a pupil premium - extra funding for deprived children - and education credits, whereby parents in areas where schools "consistently under-achieve" would receive 150 per cent of the cost of the child's schooling to be spent in a state school of their choice.

According to the paper, Unleashing Aspiration, up to 7 million more professionals are likely to be needed in Britain by 2020, but a lack of focus on careers in schools means professional jobs are the reserve of the upper-middle classes.

Under the paper's proposals, Connexions, which has been criticised by some teachers for ignoring higher-achieving young people, would be replaced by a more "professional" careers service, which would start at primary level.

Teachers' unions welcomed the aims of the report, but were critical of many of the proposals.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: "There are far better ways of tracking and identifying students' progress into adult life than adding yet another detail to the already overloaded school report card."

Chris Keates, of the NASUWT teachers' union, said that education credits would hamper fairer access for schoolchildren.

Ms Keates said: "The proposal to establish a new form of redress for parents to have a 150 per cent financial credit to move their child to a better school must be a non-starter for anyone committed to state education."

Many of the recommendations are ideas that the Conservatives are already suggesting as part of their education policy.

The Tories have said that if they come into power next year, they would expand the academies programme in the primary and secondary sectors, and are holding up their pupil premium as a key policy, despite refusing to reveal how they plan to pay for it.

However, it is unlikely any of the political parties would endorse the introduction of education credits.

Despite this, the Government said it welcomed the report, with Pat McFadden, minister for business and skills, saying the work would "shape our future thinking".

"Our passion for enhancing opportunity and ambition is undiminished after 12 years in government," he said. "We share the aim of the report's authors - to enhance the life chances of every young person regardless of their background or income."

And according to a spokesman for the Prime Minister, Mr Brown said the report would be "given a fair wind" within Whitehall.

`Unleashing Aspiration' can be found at:

Way to the top

Key recommendations:

  • A new careers advice service starting at primary age
  • Expansion of the academies programme
  • Introduction of pupil premium funding
  • Introduction of education credits worth 150 per cent of the cost of a child's education
  • A new focus on how former pupils achieve in school report cards
  • Cadet Force activities for every school that wants them
  • Radical overhaul of work experience in schools.


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