Events in recent months, not least the Prime Minister's speech at Ruskin College and the so called ‘Great Debate’, have focussed attention on to the educational arena. Many have publicly expressed their disquiet at the lack of accountability which the professionals in the educational field have towards the community at large. It is argued that pupils are not being equipped sufficiently well for the positions which they will have to assume when they leave the sheltered school environment. Results of tests — some of which are suspect — have been used to support the view that today's youngsters are illiterate and innumerate compared with those leaving school five, ten and fifteen years ago. In reaching these conclusions it is often forgotten that, with the increasing number of school leavers entering some form of further or higher education, the comparisons are not strictly valid due to the smaller population being used. For those who are interested in pursuing this particular aspect further one would mention the recently published surveys by Sheffield and Essex into numeracy, the CBI survey of numeracy and literacy in Wales and the EITB report of the mathematical requirements of engineering. These are just an indication of the expression of concern which is felt and it is known that other bodies are also actively pursuing their own enquiries in this area.
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