Schools ignore links with industry

8th May 1998 at 01:00
AS the Education Minister today (Friday) launches the the National Centre for Education for Work at Jordanhill, an independent report commissioned by the Scottish Office says that the message on the importance of links with industry is not getting through to schools.

Figures collated during the study, headed by educational consultant Bob Currie, also show that the scheme which places teachers in industry is near collapse in many areas of the country.

Last November Brian Wilson, the Minister, launched new performance indicators on education-industry links (EIL) to fit in with the HMI check list contained in 'How Good Is Our School?' He said he expected education for work, especially enterprise education, to be "at the heart of the curriculum". But Mr Currie's report says schools are barely aware of the initiative. He recommends a relaunch specifically for headteachers.

The study says there is "a relative lack of awareness" of these latest moves in schools. "There is clearly a need to clarify and re-emphasise the importance of the EIL message, and at national level to provide a high level focus on its centrality," the report says.

The HMI has already made clear that future inspections will assess the quality of schools' links with industry. This makes it imperative for schools to use the EIL performance indicators, the Scottish Office report says.

The study also found an urgent need for staff development and curriculum packages to support EIL, gaps the proposed new national centre is intended to fill.

The report shows a sharp decline in teacher placements since funding became a discretionary responsibility of the local enterprise companies last April.

In the Scottish Enterprise area 3,655 teachers took part in the scheme in 1996-7, but only 1,847 in the year to the end of March. In the Highland area numbers dropped from 285 to 186.

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