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In 2013 the Department for Education released worrying data on success rates for those learners re-taking their English and maths GCSEs. The Government data revealed that learners being made to repeat their GCSE post-16 is failing massively.
Of the 42% who did not achieve an A-C grade in GCSE English and maths, when they attempted to improve their GCSE post-16, 92% were unable to achieve an A-C in their GCSE English and 91% did not achieve the A-C pass mark in their GCSE maths.
The think tank, Policy Exchange, has just published a report suggesting that schools should be made to pay for students to re-take GCSEs in English and maths if they re-take at a further education college. Whilst we agree that more funding is needed to support these learners in gaining these fundamental skills, this does not solve the problem of our young people being demoralised and demotivated by having to re-sit these GCSEs and failing them time and time again.
While OCR supports the Government’s ambition for a ‘GCSE for all’, our expertise tells us that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not benefit learners who have not secured a pass in GCSE English and maths at 16.
We know that improving maths and English skills is vitally important to learners’ ability to progress to further education or into employment as well as to the success of the UK economy and in improving productivity. However, the GCSE should not be seen as the only way of realising this ambition.
The way people learn is hugely diverse. More contextualised, vocationally-focused qualifications can play a vital role in making ‘maths and English for all, not just for some’ a reality. In addition to this, it is often what is demanded by employers.
OCR advocates an alternative ‘adult GCSE’ for English and maths that is more suited to the post-16 education environment. It would share the GCSE name but retain those elements of flexibility that are critical to enabling post-16 learners to succeed, for example, a modular approach with contextualised learning and more frequent opportunities for assessment.
Charlotte Bosworth - Director of Skills and Employment
Charlotte is Director of Skills and Employment and has a focus on the vision and execution of plans for all vocational provision. Charlotte’s career within Education commenced in 1996 with RSA Examinations Board and vast experience in curriculum, assessment and qualifications has been accumulated during this time.
Charlotte has spent much of her career working in partnership with thought leaders in education to influence curriculum delivery and development, and to ensure best practice is assimilated into the development of qualifications, assessments and teaching resources. Much of Charlotte’s work has included building relationships and interpreting the needs of employers.
She is a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and is a member of a number of groups that influence education policy within the UK.