Apr 22

APPG for Education Inquiry Call for Evidence: Do schools prepare young people for their future careers?

Deadline for submissions: 13th June 2016

In its 2015 Education and Skills Survey, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that over half of employers were concerned that in the future there would not be enough people available to fill skilled job roles. The report stated that, “The [education] system must change, with more focus on developing the aptitudes and attributes that set young people up for success in both work and life – which matter much more to employers when recruiting than academic results alone”.

Others, however, take a different approach, suggesting that the balance has swung too far towards skills in recent years, to the detriment of the transmission of knowledge in the classroom. Schools Minister Nick Gibb identified at the Education World Forum earlier this year that the government has “reformed the national curriculum in England to put in much of the subject knowledge that previous governments – under the influence of the 21st century skills movement – had taken out”. He cited Daniel Willingham, professor of cognitive science at the University of Virginia, who “explains how the ‘thinking skills’ most prized by schools and employers are dependent upon background knowledge”.

What value should we place on the need to promote other skills that prepare our children for the future, besides strictly academic ones? Is there a role for teaching skills in the classroom, or should teachers focus on imparting subject knowledge? If this is the case, how can young people acquire the attributes that the CBI and others believe are necessary for the workplace?

This APPG for Education inquiry will examine how well our schools are preparing young people for their future, with a particular focus on their readiness for the workforce.

If we are to develop a more productive workforce that will contribute to our growing economy what does this mean for our schools?  Are young people experiencing the right balance between acquiring the requisite subject knowledge and developing the skills and understanding that will make them employees who creatively enhance the productivity of companies?  Should schools be helping young people to develop soft skills, IT skills and a flair for entrepreneurship? What are the skills, knowledge and understanding that world-class employers look for in the expanding area of apprenticeships? Are we providing our schools with the correct framework and sufficient resources to prepare our young people for the world of work?

We intend to develop a clear set of practical recommendations, so that the inquiry is useful to educationalists and policymakers, parents and young people.

The APPG is keen to engage with a wide range of organisations and individuals including schools, colleges and universities; teachers, lecturers and education professionals; young people and representative bodies; employers and representative bodies; parents and carers; educational publishers and suppliers; and other stakeholder organisations.

Terms of Reference

The Inquiry seeks written evidence in response to the following questions:


  1. What should our schools be focusing on in order to prepare young people for the future?
  2. Should schools play a role in developing skills, or should subject knowledge be prioritised?
  3. Who should be responsible for ensuring that young people develop soft, financial and entrepreneurial skills?
  4. Do education providers have the resources to prepare young people for the workforce?
  5. To help the APPG create a practical set of approaches and recommendations:
    1. What example are there of schools and colleges preparing young people well for the workforce?
    2. What examples are there of employer-led initiatives that have had an impact?

In addition, the APPG for Education would welcome details of any relevant research carried out by your organisation which it would be willing to share with the Inquiry.

How to submit evidence

The APPG for Education welcomes evidence in response to the terms of reference from individuals and organisations.  Submissions should include a contact name, contact details and organisational details as appropriate. The deadline for submissions is Monday 13th June 2016.

We would prefer responses to be submitted by email to educationappg@ranelaghuk.com as an attachment in MS Word format, although you can send your evidence to:

APPG for Education Preparing for the Future Inquiry

c/o Ranelagh Ltd

9 Neate House

56-62 Lupus Street



Inquiry timelines



25th April 2016 to

13th June 2016

Terms of Reference circulated and

written evidence received

June 2016

Questionnaires for young people, educational professionals and employers distributed

July to September 2016

Panel discussion sessions

October 2016

Report drafted

November 2016

Report published


The final report and its recommendations will be submitted to the Secretaries of State for Education and Business, Innovation and Skills for consideration and response.

About the APPG for Education

The APPG for Education explores how maintaining a dialogue between the education sector and Parliament can support improvements in schools and colleges.  The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) provides the Secretariat of the APPG.

Any questions?

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Anna Wolffe, APPG for Education Secretariat, by emailing anna.wolffe@ranelaghuk.com or calling 020 78281603.

For updates on the progress of the inquiry please visit www.educationappg.org.uk.

Mar 23

APPG for Education Annual Lunch 2016

On 15th March 2016, the APPG for Education held its Annual Lunch, with guest speaker Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee.

The Lunch was an opportunity for members of the Group to reflect on the APPG’s work since the 2015 Election. Attendees included  Danny Kinahan MP, the Group’s Chairman,  Andrea Jenkyns MP, the Group’s Vice Chair, Flick Drummond MP, Lord Boswell of Aynho and Baroness Hooper. They were joined by education sector stakeholders who have contributed to the work of the Group over the last year.


It was also a chance to hear from Neil Carmichael about his views on the direction of education policy during this Parliament. Mr Carmichael talked about the work of the Education Committee, and in particular the Purpose of Education Inquiry.  He stated that education is at the core of all economic challenges and strong education makes Britain capable of competing internationally. He also declared a firm belief that curriculum and assessment needed to be considered as a whole and must complement each other, and that a range of options for post 16 study must be available.

On school governance, Mr Carmichael talked about the need for strong leadership of groups of schools with the ability to produce new ideas.  The recently announced Select Committee inquiry into Multi Academy Trusts would be looking at this, 6th Form, UTCs and choices available to secondary school pupils.

Questions to Mr Carmichael ranged from the topic of skills required for good leadership, the ability to look beyond the UK for positive examples of teaching, the teaching and take up of science, teaching of maths beyond 16 and the benefits of teaching business in schools.

Danny Kinahan MP, Chair of the APPG for Education, Dominic Savage of the British Educational Suppliers Association, and Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee

Danny Kinahan MP, Chair of the APPG for Education, Dominic Savage of the British Educational Suppliers Association, and Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee

Mar 01

APPG Chair asks Government for answers on the educational impact of the classroom environment

Following February’s APPG for Education meeting on the impact of the classroom learning environment on educational attainment, the Group’s chair, Danny Kinahan MP, has tabled a series of written Parliamentary Questions on the topic. The first few of these questions have now been answered, and you can read them below:

Danny Kinahan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the built environment on learning progress in schools.

Nick Gibb: The Department’s approach to the built environment is informed by a range of expert research.

The James Review of Education Capital, published in 2011 recommended the implementation of standardised designs for schools that could be continually improved upon and deliver buildings that ‘act as manageable tools for those delivering outstanding education to our children.’ In response to this the Education Funding Agency (EFA) developed ‘Baseline Designs’, which help to ensure that the Department’s funding goes further and that as many pupils as possible benefit from improved school buildings.

Alongside this, the Department recognises the importance of factors such as daylight, temperature and air-quality and offers guidance to schools, contractors and designers through EFA Building Bulletins and the requirements in EFA’s Facilities Output Specification, used in procuring new school buildings.

Danny Kinahan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department’s policies on the design of new schools of the study entitled, The impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, published in July 2015.

Danny Kinahan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has taken steps to disseminate the findings of the study, The impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning, by Professor Barrett of Salford University, published in July 2015, to (a) primary schools, (b) secondary schools and (c) sixth form colleges.

Nick Gibb: The Department continuously monitors literature published on the built environment as it relates to schools. Where relevant, the findings from this literature inform the development of the Department’s guidance on design and maintenance. The Department uses this guidance to communicate with contractors, designers, schools and sixth form colleges about the standards in class room design.

Professor Barrett has met with officials from the department to discuss the findings of his research. Professor Barrett’s recommendations regarding daylight, temperature and air-quality in schools reinforce those already made in the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) Building Bulletins and the requirements in EFA’s Facilities Output Specification, used in procuring many new school buildings.

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