The new education secretary Damian Hinds spoke of the need for schools to focus on core subjects like maths, English and science in his first speech since starting the job almost two weeks ago.

Addressing the Education World Forum in London, Hinds said he wanted pupils to have an “international perspective” and “very wide horizons”, and said workplace and character skills needed to be “built up” while pupils are at school.

He said preparing pupils for the “fourth industrial revolution” – a term used to describe the technological advances made in the last decade – was crucial to their future success.

“The pace of change we face today is so much greater than it has been in the past.

“We need to make sure that as our economies evolve, as our society evolves, we need to make sure that in the world of education we are absolutely on top of it.”

Core academic subjects such as maths, English and science were “at the heart” of such an education, Hinds concluded. But he also emphasised the £84 million committed by the government last month to training more computer science teachers, and teaching pupils “digital skills” that would match a “modern economy”

“Soft skills” and character were also highlighted by the secretary of state. Hinds said their importance was particularly impressed upon him during his tenure as an employment minister.

The ethos of a school and extracurricular activities helped pupils build both “character and workplace” skills, he said.

Hinds went on to say technology must also “play a role” in reducing teacher workload, and spoke of the importance of “sharing information globally”.

He acknowledged that workloads were “quite rightly” a matter of “great importance to teachers in this country”, and that technology could be used to help ease the problem.


More to follow.