Labour today pledged to beef up teaching standards in the nation's further education colleges as part of a drive to improve numeracy and literacy standards.
Under a future Labour government, all teachers in colleges will have to have at least the equivalent of A* to C grade passes in English and maths at GCSE.
A policy paper published today acknowledged that more than half the nation's pupils had failed to achieve top grade passes at GCSE in the two subjects by the time they reached the school leaving age of 16. Only a handful more went on to obtain them by 18.
It acknowledges "traditional teaching of these subjects in a school setting does not get the best results out of many young people".
Instead, they needed to be taught in the more vocational setting of a further education college and in the context of preparing them for the world of work.
"This will require more teachers based in colleges who possess the skills and qualifications to teach English and maths to GCSE level and beyond."
The paper adds: "Currently, too many young people are pushed down an education route that isn't right for them simply because a clear, quality vocational option was not on offer."
The policy was welcomed by the main lecturers' union, the University and College Union, but it warned against attacking teachers when criticising the Coalition Government's record on education.