State-funded schools ‘should be incentivised to develop essential life skills’, recommends the Sutton Trust.
Given the loathing felt by schools minister Nick Gibb about the teaching of ‘skills’ and the government’s support for more explicit teaching of ‘core knowledge’, this recommendation is likely to fall on deaf ears.
The Sutton Trust gave three more recommendations which accompanied its report into ‘Elites in the UK: Pulling Away?’ These are:
1 A ban on unpaid internships. Interns working for more than four weeks should be ‘paid at least the minimum wage’.
2 More degree and higher-level apprenticeships.
3 Fairer schools admissions prioritising pupils eligible for pupil premium. This would decrease ‘social segregation’.
The first two are welcome. But social segregation would be better served by a complete overhaul of school admission criteria: no selection; no school allowed to discriminate on grounds of faith; no academy prioritising children from academies in the same trust.
The Department for Education’s latest press release lists two of the above recommendations but adds one that didn’t appear: ‘making sure a pupil’s background is considered during the University admissions process.’
It’s something the Sutton Trust has recommended in the past together with introducing a Post-Qualification Admissions system. But it didn’t do so on this occasion.