Government reforms announced today will see GCSE students who don’t get a C grade at English and Maths carry on until they pass. This reform is part of a raft of changes brought forward by the government to help improve employability.
The much maligned 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. Young people must be able to demonstrate their understanding of the subjects.”
Whilst the importance of good English and Maths skills can’t be denied, the question remains as to whether this is the best use of government money.
For those young people who consistently fail at GCSE exams, it remains to be seen whether extended teaching and testing will lead to higher pass rates or an increase in demoralised students. Alison Sherratt from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers wonders whether that funding could be put into colleges, apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications rather than another test.
Alison Sherratt poses a good question about return on investment; would we be better to increase employability through vocational skills courses rather than continuing GCSE’s till a pass is achieved or until that pupil is 18? Only time will tell, what we do know is that to administer this reform the government will need an influx of Maths and English teachers.
If you’ve been thinking about going into teaching, the next few years might be a perfect time to do so. My ‘funding crystal ball’ sees grants for graduates who want to go down this path, so watch this space!