Professor Sir Adrian Smith, the author of a new government-commissioned report, has recommended that the post-16 GCSE Maths resit policy should be reviewed, with fresh consideration as to whether the qualifications and curricula are appropriate for students.
The report, released on Thursday (20 July), also suggests that the DfE should remove disincentives from the 16-19 funding model for maths provision and increase support in developing excellence in GCSE maths teaching across the sector.
In response, the schools minister, Nick Gibb, said that he recognised Professor Smith’s concerns about the need for high quality alternative qualifications for students who are not suited to GCSE maths, and alluded to the fact that Functional Skills are in the process of being reformed. He also confirmed that current policy will remain, at least until the end of the 2017/18 academic year.
There continues to be widespread concern that the current retake requirement for learners without a ‘good pass’ for GCSE Maths or English is not working – large numbers of students failed to improve their grades last year, Ofsted’s most recent annual report stated they felt the policy was not working as hoped, and several high profile names in the sector, including Mark Dawe and David Hughes, have criticised the policy.