Nearly £50 million has been set aside by the government to improve its controversial GCSE maths resits policy. The chancellor, Phillip Hammond, presented his autumn budget in parliament announcing various new forms of funding for Further Education.
Out of the investment, £8.5 million will be set aside to test “innovative approaches” to improving resits. It will run for two years, allowing information on the participants to be released by the Department for Education, along with more details about what they will explore.
The other £40 million will be used to establish further education centres that will train maths teachers across the country. There will be around 20 centres of excellence, however further information on how they will work and where they are located will be decided in “due course”.
Since 2013, all 16-19 year olds without at least a grade C in GCSE maths or English have had to enrol on courses alongside their main programme of study. In 2015, this requirement was tightened meaning all those with a grade D in those subjects would sit a GCSE course.
After last year’s GCSE results showed a significant number of learners failing to improve their grades in resits, many in the sector have called on the government to scrap the policy. Employers (including colleges and apprenticeship providers) generally demand an A*- C at GCSE (or 4-9) before interview.
David Hughes, the chief executive of the Association of Colleges, has lobbied hard with the DfE to abandon the policy and was “…pleased they have been listening to the feedback we have been giving them on the need to understand what works for GCSE resits…”