Part of any effective working relationship is the recognition that both partners have a role to play: both have their own expectations and needs. When asked what they felt school pupils would be expected to offer to industry, on applying for a job, our trainee teachers came up with the following list of attributes:
■ an all-round education
■ basic skills of literacy and numeracy
■ communication and ICT skills
■ social and academic skills
■ good time management
This list illustrates something that all good education systems aim to achieve, but in reality, industry has found that the incoming workforce has often lacked even the basic literacy and communication skills and was weak in science and technology. The introduction of the Secondary National Strategy, changes at Key Stages 3 and 4, the STEM agenda, together with a revised apprenticeship scheme and the new suite of diplomas, go some way to responding to this. The increased emphasis on learning in alternative settings, and especially linking with industry, takes this response even further. It can help address many of these deficiencies, and at its best it is one of the most successful means of bringing reality into the classroom. If a pupil can see and understand the reasons for learning a particular subject then the learning process becomes more effective.
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