December 7 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Education experts in Suffolk have supported an announcement that teenagers who fail to score decent grades in their English and maths GCSEs will have to continue studying the subjects.
Under new reforms, 16-year-olds who do not get a C grade or better will be told that they must learn the two subjects until they gain the key qualifications.
The Government said that the move will help ensure that young people have a good grasp of English and maths.
Geoff Barton, head at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, backed the proposal.
He said: “There’s no doubt that competence in English and maths is essential in life. It’s something of a scandal that as a country we allow so many young people to leave school not having secured the basics.
“This will very much focus the minds of students and teachers, and help to provide employers with two central employability skills that they need.”
Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the proposals chimed with the principles of the Raising the Bar initiative, aimed at boosting education standards and employability across the county.
She said: “Through Raising the Bar, we’ve already established that improving educational attainment in Suffolk is the county council’s number one priority.
“This change shouldn’t be seen as being just about passing exams. This needs to be about getting the best possible grounding in subjects that set you up for a successful future career and life outside of full time education. Anything that helps to achieve this all important aim should be welcomed.”
West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock, the Government’s skills minister, said the requirement to keep studying English and maths was not about re-sitting exams but about continuing to develop these essential skills. “For those who fail to get a C at GCSE, it’s a huge impairment to their future life, their ability to participate not just in work but also as a citizen,” he said.
Department for Education figures show among young people aged 19 last year, 285,000 had left school at age 16 without a C or higher in both English and maths, and by the time they were 19, 255,000 had still not reached this level.
The reform will be introduced from the start of this term – which begins this week for many schools –and comes as the education participation age is raised to 17. In 2015 it will be raised to 18.
Education secretary Michael Gove said: “Good qualifications in English and maths are what employers demand before all others. They are, quite simply, the most important vocational skills a young person can have.”