Despite suggestions of a change in the Government's GCSE maths and English resit policy, new funding guidance released on Monday, confirmed that this was not to be the case.
Under the funding rule, introduced in August 2015, all 16 to 18-year-old students with a near-pass (previously grade D, now grade three) GCSE in maths and English have had to continue studying and resit the GCSE, rather than an alternative "stepping stone" qualification, such as a level two functional skills qualification (for those students receiving grades lower than a D (and now a grade 3), this option is available to them).
NAHT are fully supportive of a change to this policy – evidence suggests that, overall, catch-up success rates are poor - in English, only 34% of students who achieved a D at 16 managed to attain an A*-C or equivalent by year 13; in maths the figure is 24%. Forcing young people into a round of resits when the large majority fail can be extremely demotivating and disheartening; possibly resulting in further disengagement with the subject. The most important outcome is that students have the necessary numeracy and literacy skills to continue their education or training, and for many students, an alternative level 2 qualifications may be a more appropriate means of achieving this.
However, on Monday the Education and Skills Funding Agency released the new guidance which included the statement that: "Full time students starting their study programme who have a grade three or D GCSE, or equivalent qualification in maths and/or English, must be enrolled on a GCSE, rather than an approved stepping stone qualification."
This is a disappointing outcome as NAHT had hoped to see the funding conditions for the upcoming year altered to put students' needs first. We will continue to press the government to recognise the need for change to a more sensible approach in future years.
The full funding regulations for 2017 to 2018 can be found here.
Page Published: 12/04/2017