The BBC is reporting that a think tank has suggested schools where pupils fail to get good GCSE grades in English and maths should pay a levy to fund pupils who re-take their exams in further education colleges.
Policy Exchange has published a report highlighting that FE colleges in England teach a higher proportion of pupils re-sitting exams than schools.
But FE colleges face greater pressures on their budgets than schools.
Two teaching unions have criticised the levy proposal.
Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said the idea of a levy was an “own goal”.
The report from the right-leaning think tank suggests re-allocating financial support to further education colleges in England which take on pupils who have previously struggled in school.
It proposes that secondary schools where pupils have failed to achieve at least C grades in GCSE English and maths should face a financial penalty of about £500 per pupil which would then be used to support students retaking exams in further education colleges.
There are five times more students retaking English in FE colleges than in schools, says the report.
For maths, almost six times as many retakes are in FE colleges as in schools.
Natasha Porter, author of the Policy Exchange report, said: “It is unfair for some schools to pass the buck to FE colleges who are already facing extreme funding pressures to fix a problem they have not caused themselves.
“To recognise the additional burden on FE colleges and shoulder more responsibility, schools should cough up and pay a re-sit levy…”
Download the report in full from Policy Exchange: Crossing the Line: Improving success rates among students retaking English and maths GCSEs
Is this a sensible suggestion from Policy Exchange or would it, as Brian Lightman suggests, be an own goal?
After all, if FE colleges are taking far more students who are re-sitting shouldn’t they receive some help from the schools where they failed to get satisfactory grades previously (the actual critia proposed are more nuanced than not just getting a C or above – see the link to the Policy Exchange report above)?
Please let us know why/why not in the comments below or via Twitter…
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