Maths and English GCSEs to be retaken up to age 18 until at least a grade C is achieved

Teenagers who fail to score a decent grade in English and maths GCSEs will have to continue studying the subjects, the government has announced. This is from the BBC

Under the reforms, 16-year-olds who have not achieved at least a C grade or better will now be required to keep studying them up to the age of 18.

The aim is to make youngsters more employable.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said these were the subjects “employers demand before all others”.

As pupils return this week for the new school year a tougher requirement for English and maths is being introduced.

Until now pupils have been able to drop both subjects at the age of 16 without having gained a qualification in them.

Many would never study these subjects again, prompting concerns from employers that too many young people lack skills necessary for work.

Last year, there were more than a quarter of a million 19-year-olds without a C grade in English and maths.

The intention is for teenagers who missed C grades to re-take GCSEs in maths and English, but there will also be an option to take other types of maths and English lessons.

The importance of developing basic skills beyond the age of 16 was emphasised by Professor Alison Wolf in her report on improving vocational education for 14 to 19-year-olds.

She found that too many vocational qualifications lacked value for employers and too many youngsters were entering adult life without adequate skills in literacy and numeracy.

“Good English and maths grades are fundamental to young people’s employment and education prospects,” she said.

“Individuals with very low literacy and numeracy are severely disadvantaged in the labour market.”

Speaking after the announcement, Prof Wolf welcomed the implementation of her proposals.

“Every other country in the developed world concentrates on improving the language and maths skills of its post-16 students, and so should England. Recognising the central place of English and maths skills in society is long overdue.”

But Labour’s shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg, said more urgent action was needed.

“In 2012 Labour set out ambitious plans for all children to study English and maths to 18.

“A whole wasted year later and the government have only got half way there. This isn’t good enough. [Prime Minister] David Cameron needs to listen to employers – they want all young people to continue building these key skills to 18.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “Good qualifications in English and maths are what employers demand before all others.

They are, quite simply, the most important vocational skills a young person can have. Young people must be able to demonstrate their understanding of these subjects.”

More at:  English and maths studied to 18

Is it the right move to insist on students retaking GCSEs or equivalent in English and maths up to the age of 18? Or, as @StephenTwigg suggests, is it still not going far enough? Please share your thoughts about this development in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. Anon

    And he wants take early entry away from us, reduce the CA in English, all tools that help students get those grades by the time they are 16.

  2. Roy352

    Neither political hue has considered the lack of post 16 facilities to teach English and Maths. In some rural areas that remain selective non selective schools have no sixth forms and colleges are too far away. Community learning centres don’t have the expertise.

  3. FionaTipper

    SchoolsImprove Surprised to read that compulsory ed to 18 does not include Eng and Math for all, just for those who didn’t even get Cs ??

  4. GirlPower66

    SchoolsImprove itsmotherswork that’s not an improvement that’s just going to ruin teenagers and make us feel like shit till we get a C…

  5. GirlPower66

    SchoolsImprove itsmotherswork a c grade is not a skill its a qualification so employers aren’t really looking in the first place.

  6. Roaringgirl

    NQTCareers wonderfrancis SchoolsImprove Ludicrous. My daughter very talented artist has no maths, doesn’t need it – discrimination it is

  7. NQTCareers

    Roaringgirl wonderfrancis SchoolsImprove It certainly will restrict talented pupils where, like your daughter, Maths is not essential.

  8. Janet2

    A GCSE grade D-G is a qualification so the article is wrong to say that pupils who don’t get a C in Maths and English leave school without a qualification.
    The DfE’s own progress measure says pupils who entered secondary school with a Level 3 are only expected to gain a D at GCSE.  Now it’s saying that pupils must get a C.
    The Office of National Satistics said that GCSE grades D-G allowed entry into elementary level jobs.  See  for more detail.
    That said, it’s right that all pupils should continue studying maths and English up to the end of the participation age (18).  But this doesn’t have to be stuck to GCSE.

  9. no4rugbyguy

    SchoolsImprove its a fundamental change in education & a smokescreen for lack of support & funding for those that need it earlier!

  10. HylandMcCabe

    Roaringgirl SchoolsImprove wonderfrancis What if your school hasn’t got enough maths teachers due to national shortage?!

  11. colin_lever

    hecharden SchoolsImprove Roaringgirl HylandMcCabe wonderfrancis Why can we not have a core ‘basic’ maths with extra for the specialists

  12. Mathlete_RC

    SchoolsImprove if it hasn’t worked in previous 12 years of schooling what’s going to be different between ages 16-18?

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