Sir Terry Leahy, the chief executive of Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, has slated the UK’s education system, saying “woefully low” standards in too many schools leave private sector companies to “pick up the pieces”.
On an scathing attack, Sir Terry said that Tesco is the largest private employer in the country and therefore depends on high standards in schools.
“Sadly, despite all the money that has been spent, standards are still woefully low in too many schools. Employers like us are often left to pick up the pieces.”
He added that too many educational agencies and bodies hamper the work of teachers in the classroom.
“One thing that government could do is to simplify the structure of our education system. From my perspective there are too many agencies and bodies, often issuing reams of instructions to teachers, who then get distracted from the task at hand: teaching children.
“At Tesco we try to keep paperwork to a minimum; instructions simple; structures flat; and – above all – we trust the people on the ground. I am not saying that retail is like education, merely that my experience tells me that when it comes to the number of people you have in the back office, ‘less is more’,” he said. Sir Terry was speaking at the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s annual conference in London.