She said: “This report is a damning indictment of the last two Governments' education policies, which have not done enough to improve the life chances of young people. Young people from low income backgrounds have been especially damaged by government policy. Particularly damning is the Social Mobility Commission’s conclusion that, at the current rate of progress, it will take 120 years for disadvantaged young people to achieve the same A-level or equivalent qualifications as their better off peers.
“The report singles out apprenticeships and careers policy for particular criticism in failing these young people. This comes as no surprise to ATL – our members have been telling the Government about the harmful impact of these policies on young people for many years.
“We support many of the Commission’s recommendations. We want the Government to ensure all children are school ready by the age of five, to abandon plans for grammar schools and focus on turning around failing schools, to do more to attract and retain teachers and ensure they get continuous professional development, and to allow the development of a more balanced curriculum. We also support refocusing apprenticeships on young people and ensuring they are of high-quality and agree that there needs to be careers advice and support in all schools.
“It is about time the Government started listening to education professionals and focussed on the issues which make the most difference to helping all children, and disadvantaged children in particular.”
Note to editors:
- The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, further and higher education colleges and universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice, and to work with government and employers to defend its members’ pay, conditions and career development.
- ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.