The Times has published an interview which sees the former chief inspector of schools for England say that the leaving age for students should be lowered to fourteen. Sir Chris Woodhead said in the interview that this would give students who are less capable of academics a better ability to learn a valuable trade skill.
He has criticised the government saying, “It is a deluded view to think that all people will be able to succeed at English and Maths up until the age of 18. My opinion is that if a fourteen year old has managed to learn the basics of literacy by 14 then they should be allowed to go into something that utilises their skills better than more academic studies. It seems crazy to think that children who are being truant at this young an age will be able to have a meaningful academic career until they are eighteen.”
The former chief inspector said that he is backing the governments plans to increase reading skills at a primary school level by using the synthetic phonics method. He also said that he wants to see the literacy rate of children rise to 95% by the time they are 11. Currently this is at 80%.
He has also been strongly critical of David Cameron’s plan to make independent schools give sponsorship to academies, calling it ‘morally wrong.’ He has said that while it may be good for the comprehensive schools to be able to use the facilities it will impact the children whose parents are paying fees.