I'm not sure what to make of this.
Young people starting work at John Lewis stores lack basic literacy and numeracy skills, the boss of the department store chain has said.
Dame Sharon White's comments were reported in the Times after she spoke to a commission set up by the newspaper to look at the UK education system in the light of the Covid crisis.
She said the firm had to provide basic catch-up classes to some staff.
Some lacked skills beyond the level of a 10 year-old, Dame Sharon said.
"To have done 10 years, 11, 12 years of education, and not having, in many cases, functional literacy, certainly, pretty typically not having functional numeracy beyond the age of, I'd say, 10, 11, means that they may then have fabulous people skills and fabulous skills in terms of operating in a team but that's almost outwith the education system," Dame Sharon told the Commission.
Lets get it clear. I am no fan of the UK education system which is obsessed with outcomes, league tables and qualifications and the national curriculum allows little room for creativity and innovation in pedagogy. I also suspect it is struggling to keep up with the ways in which technology is changing not only how we learn bbut the contested definition of what constitutes something like functional numeracy.
However, in the many 35 or so years I have worked in education, one thing in common is employers always moaning that schools are not providing young people with the skills they need. True, the things they need change from time to time, but education is never providing them. I wonder if it isn't time that employers start providing the things that education needs: rich workplace learning environments, more initial and continuing training, more properly paid apprenticeships, support for developing learning cities and much more.
Oh and by the way - I am not sure what the Times newspaper are doing in all this but I am sure they are up to no good.