Commenting on the CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2012 report, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union said:
"There can be no doubting the commitment of schools and teachers to delivering the highest possible educational standards for all children.
"Year on year improvements in examination results and record numbers of young people staying on in education and training are testament to the achievements of our schools.
“It would be a travesty to pretend that youth unemployment is the fault of schools.
“Regrettably, too many young people are facing a bleak future of unemployment, not because of a lack of skills, but because of a lack of jobs, exacerbated by the failure of the Coalition Government to prioritise investment and growth over cuts and austerity.
“Despite the almost constant unjust and unfounded denigration and criticism of schools, the fact remains that the UK is among the world’s leading education nations according to international evidence.
“Of course teachers are not complacent and there remains scope for improvement.
"This report by CBI/Pearson rightly highlights the importance of developing the skills needed for our economy to thrive in the 21stcentury.
“The Coalition Government would do well to listen to the growing voices of businesses and others who are expressing genuine concerns about the direction of travel of the government’s education policies and who are rightly questioning whether a 1950s grammar school curriculum will equip today’s young people with the knowledge and skills they will need to lead successful and productive lives.
“The decision by the Coalition Government to remove over 3000 vocational qualifications from the school performance tables has overnight removed the incentive for schools to provide access to the broad range of vocational and employability skills that businesses say they need.
“Employers must recognise that they have responsibilities too and must do more to invest in developing the skills their businesses will need for the future.
“The report confirms that amongst the businesses surveyed some are committing more to the development of partnership arrangements with schools. However the report confirms that there is scope for more employers to invest to support skills development.
“Regrettably, too many employers have actually reduced the amount of money they are investing on workforce training and development, a problem which has been exacerbated by the downturn in the UK economy. This is deeply short-sighted.
“Meeting the challenge of developing the 21st century skills that business and the economy needs requires that government and employers recognise the importance of sustained, long-term investment in academic and vocational education, as an entitlement for all young people.”