As GCSE maths and English exams across the country get underway, SGS College in South Gloucestershire and Stroud is calling on the Government to rethink the literacy and numeracy qualifications required to ensure young people are equipped with the right skills for the workplace.
SGS currently has 800 GCSE maths and English students resitting exams this June after not attaining an A*-C grade whilst at school. This is a rise of 50 percent. These students will all be taking their exams at the same time on the same day as required by the examining board. To cater for such huge numbers, the college has had to employ more teachers and invigilators, reduce vocational provision and cancel other classes.
Since 2014/15, all 16-year-olds who didn’t achieve an A*-C grade whilst at school are required to continue to re-sit these GCSEs or Functional Skills qualifications, alongside their further education or training. In September the situation is likely to get worse as the new GCSE maths and English syllabuses come in, which will be more academic, and all those who achieve a grade D must be entered onto GCSEs rather than the applied Functional Skills courses.
Kevin Hamblin, Principal of SGS College, said:
“We’ve worked extremely hard to ensure our students are motivated and well-equipped for re-sitting their GCSE exams. It is imperative that young people are ready with skills for the working world but we’d ask the government to re-consider whether forcing 16 to 18-year-olds to take academic qualifications alongside other technical and professional education and training is the right pathway for everyone.”
Gill Clipson, Deputy Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“There is no quick fix to the maths and English challenge facing the whole education system. GCSEs need to be rigorous qualifications but there are some young people who will never be able to achieve A*-C. The government should work with employers in the public and private sector and colleges to ensure maths and English qualifications are related to the world of work and everyday life.”
The college is a member of the Association of Colleges (AoC) which is making recommendations to the Government to ensure that further education and most importantly their students can thrive and succeed.
Source: South Gloucestershire and Stroud College