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Reforms to help pupils improve English and maths skills

02/09/2013 Joanna
New plans will seek to make sure children do not leave school without sufficient English or maths GCSEs.

Under the measures, those who fail to achieve a grade C or better by the time they finish secondary school must continue to study the subjects in post-16 education until they achieve a suitable pass mark.

Education secretary Michael Gove has shown his support for the proposal, which was first put forward in 2011 by Professor Alison Wolf, and the major reform will see teachers coming into contact with even more subjects. 

He stated: "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 these subjects."

Of the young people aged 19 in 2012, only 21 per cent of the 285,000 who failed to achieve a C or better in their English GCSE at 16 studied the qualification afterwards. The figure was slightly higher (23 per cent) for maths.

Professor Wolf said having good English and maths GCSEs is "fundamental", as youngsters with poor literacy and numeracy skills will be disadvantaged when they go out to the working world. 

Speaking about the new policy, she remarked: "It will have a hugely positive impact on the ability of hundreds of thousands of young people to get good jobs." She added every other country in the world put emphasis of developing language abilities in post-16 student and so a measure of this type is "long overdue".

Mike Harris, head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said his body strongly supports the roll out of such a policy, as he thinks it is vital to make sure Britain's workforce remains competitive. 

He stated employers' number one proposal is that young people "leave education literate and numerate".

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