The CBI in Northern Ireland have rejected the proposed changes to the education structural landscape as “wasteful” while calling for increased focus on numeracy and literacy teaching during early primary school years.
NI director Nigel Smyth said:
“There appears to be a reluctance to set a strategy or milestone target at Key Stage 2, yet we know that around 5,000 pupils per year are reaching this stage without adequate basic skills,” he said.
The comments made by the CBI reinforce strategic direction advice made by the Northern Ireland Audit Office and the Westminster Public Accounts Committee in 2006 but rejected by the education authorities.
Nigel Smyth also said:
“Without basic skills, children’s ability to progress in the post-primary sector and beyond is clearly inhibited,”
Unfortunately for pupils and their parents such advice was largely ignored by the DENI and CCEA who persisted in imposition of the revised curriculum, the early years enriched curriculum and synthetic phonics. All of these programmes are incompatible with the aims of a numeracy and literacy strategy that seeks improvement in outcomes. Teachers are claimed by the DENI to be in support of the revised curriculum. It follows that extra resources directed to the implementation of the ESA and curricular reforms will not result in improved numeracy and literacy outcomes in primary schools.