Forcing resits on teenagers who do not get good GCSEs in English and maths is causing "significant problems", the new head of Ofsted has argued.
In her first speech on post-16 education, Amanda Spielman, said the policy was “well-intentioned” but questioned whether it was “the right way forward”, with “miserable statistics” showing that around two-thirds of students did not manage to improve their grade last year.
The Chief Inspector recognised the effect repeated re-takes can have on students’ confidence and attendance, and the challenges they pose for post-16 institutions.
Ofsted hopes that the government will reflect on feedback from the sector and refine its approach to vital English and maths skills which form part of the wider curriculum.
In a separate report Life After School: Confronting the Crisis, the education charity Impetus-PEF, concludes that GCSE catch-up provision is not working: most students who do not attain English and maths at 16 do not catch up by 19.
It recommends that the government retains its ambitions for English and maths but that it: provides extra funding for re-takes; commits to the development of high quality Functional Skills qualifications as GCSE alternatives; and tests ways to increase the supply of qualified English and maths teachers in the FE sector.