CHILDREN’S AMBITIONS SHOULD BE FOSTERED, NOT LIMITED, SAYS HEADMASTER
Following a report recently published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the headmaster says children need to have all possible information at their fingertips in order for them to make informed career choices.
David EJJ Lloyd also believes the government needs to start focusing on what really matters when it comes to education and children’s futures.
The report states that by the age of just seven, some children are already facing limits on their future aspirations because of stereotyping about social background, gender and race.
Mr Lloyd, said: “I grew up in a world where career choices were all too often guided by the familiar and many young people followed their parents into the workplace, for example, working on the factory floor at the Ford Motor Company or Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory on Merseyside. This type of social immobility is still very evident today.
“While not suggesting that such jobs are of less value, parents, teachers, schools and governments must work harder to improve information flows and foster ambition and growth mindsets.”
At Solihull School, a huge variety of careers guidance is offered to arm pupils with the information they need to make the right choices for themselves.
It organises a varied programme of interactive career lunch events, there is access to a network of career mentors, there are specific career networking events, an annual junior school careers fair is held, support is given with applications to overseas universities and comprehensive psychometric testing is carried out at key intervals, followed by a detailed report and one-to-one follow-up meetings.
Mr Lloyd believes the enrichment curriculum, for example, school debating and the Engineering Education Scheme, careers advice and links with businesses and universities are vital in schools and must be given appropriate time and funding, but said he understands the difficulty of doing so in the modern education system.
He said: “The teaching shortage doesn’t help and if the government were to focus on what really matters, instead of the latest teaching and learning initiative, at a time when schools are being forced to cull the curriculum and teaching staff, then it would provide us with confidence that social mobility really matters.
“Social mobility is not about changing social classes, it is about making informed choices, and if young people are to do this then the information must be at their fingertips.
“Teachers must lead on this, but they must feel this is a real priority and not political rhetoric around underfunded soundbites.”