Brentwood head teacher criticises education system

The outgoing headteacher of Shenfield High School has called for a “radical rethink” of exams and league tables and for children to be taught more skills needed for the workplace.

John Fairhurst, who is currently on secondment as the President of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), addressed the group’s conference last Friday (March 11).

He said: “There is more agreement between schools and colleges and business leaders than either party appears to recognise.

“ASCL and the CBI are not only talking, but agreeing that the bottom line is not test scores but what young people really know and can do when they leave us.”

He added: “The system is set up to generate the outcomes we have and, therefore, the frustrations all of us feel. So it is the system that needs to change.”

He also echoed the comments of Shenfield High’s acting headteacher Liz Clarke, reported in The Recorder earlier this year, in criticising the government’s new English Baccalaureate.

Mr Fairhurst is due to officially retire as head of the school later this year. Carole Herman, currently at a school in Wales, has been confirmed as his long-term replacement.