School leavers who fail to achieve a grade C or above in English and maths will be made to continue studying the subjects until they are 18, starting from September. The announcement was made by Matthew Hancock MP and is part of the Government’s drive to improve maths and English standards.
According to the Further Education Workforce Strategy, published at the beginning of July, funding will be dependent on providers abiding by this new policy, and by 2015/16 students with poor attainment in English and maths must study GCSEs rather than stepping stone qualifications.
The strategy also outlines plans to reform GCSE Maths and GCSE English to make them more ‘stretching’, more relevant to employer needs, and incorporate more real world context. These new GCSEs will become the standard qualifications for those aged 16-19 who failed to achieve a good pass in these subjects from 2017.
Functional Skills will still be available as a qualification in apprenticeship completion requirements. The Government have also pledged that Functional Skills qualifications will continue to be available as a stepping stone to GCSE, ensuring those that are working at a lower level are well supported.