Pupils’ career aspirations should not be limited, says head

Solihull School’s David EJJ Lloyd was responding to claims that social background, gender and race curtail the ambitions of children as young as seven

The Government must do more to ensure young people are fully informed of their options before making career choices, says the headmaster of Solihull School.

David EJJ Lloyd was responding to a recent OECD report which found that social background, gender and race was putting limits on the future aspirations of children as young as seven.

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“I grew up in a world where career choices were all too often guided by the familiar,” said Lloyd.

“Many young people followed their parents into the workplace, for example, working on the factory floor at the Ford Motor Company or Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory on Merseyside. This type of social immobility is still very evident today.

“While not suggesting that such jobs are of less value, parents, teachers, schools and governments must work harder to improve information flows and foster ambition and growth mindsets.”

Among the measures Lloyd said should be given appropriate time and funding are careers advice, links with businesses and universities, school debating and the Engineering Education Scheme.

David EJJ Lloyd

“The teaching shortage doesn’t help,” he added. “If the Government were to focus on what really matters, instead of the latest teaching and learning initiative, at a time when schools are being forced to cull the curriculum and teaching staff, then it would provide us with confidence that social mobility really matters.

“Social mobility is not about changing social classes, it is about making informed choices, and if young people are to do this then the information must be at their fingertips.

“Teachers must lead on this, but they must feel this is a real priority and not political rhetoric around underfunded soundbites.”

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