Business leaders call for GCSE overhaul

BUSINESS leaders in the region today called for an overhaul of the GCSE system claiming school leavers entering the world of work lacked basic skills. The East Anglian Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said there were not enough 16-year-olds who could “hit the ground running”.

BUSINESS leaders in the region today called for an overhaul of the GCSE system claiming school leavers entering the world of work lacked basic skills.

The East Anglian Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said there were not enough 16-year-olds who could “hit the ground running”.

The attack comes just 24 hours after teenagers across the county celebrated record GCSE pass rates.

Jeanette Thurtle, FSB East Anglia Regional Organiser said: “The skills that businesses need from school leavers are literacy, numeracy, punctuality, communication skills and an ability to be well-presented.


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“This allows them to contribute immediately as they start their new job.

“Sadly, at the moment these skills are lacking in many 16-year-olds and this explains why more firms are turning instead to new migrants from other EU nations to fill their job vacancies.

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“This threatens to leave more young people on the scrapheap if action is not taken urgently in the secondary school system.

Research carried out by the FSB found that a quarter of small firms in the region faced one or more skills shortages when seeking to fill a job vacancy.

More than ten per cent of businesses said both basic literacy and numeracy skills were lacking in new recruits, while a further 10pc reported a lack of communication skills as a problem.

However, Neil Watts, headteacher at Northgate High School, said: “This almost assumes that we don't value punctuality and communication. If anything, in the last few years we have tightened up on those areas.

“We want youngsters to leave literate, numerate and be able to communicate and I think schools are doing well meeting the needs of the business community.”

Do you think young people leave school with few basic skills? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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