Pupils who 'fail' GCSE English or maths will be forced to stay on at school and resit their exams

“Good results in English and maths are what employers demand before all others”

Teenagers who fail to obtain at least a C grade pass in their maths and English GCSEs will have to continue studying the subjects under a radical government plan that comes into force this month.

The move coincides with the raising of the education participation which means every pupil will have to stay on in some form of education or training until the age of 17.

The decision to insist on compulsory maths and English lessons for some students beyond the age of 16 comes after research revealed that only 21 per cent of the 285,000 19-year-olds who failed to obtain a C grade in English last year went on to continue to study the subject after GCSEs. In maths, the figures were 255,000 and 23 per cent respectively.

“Good qualifications in English and maths are what employers demand before all others.” said Education Secretary Michael Gove. “They are, quite simply, the most important vocational skills a young person can have.”

Mike Harris, head of education and skills at the Institute of Directors, added: “The fact that hundreds of thousands of young people have not achieved good qualifications in English and maths by the age of 19 is both socially damaging and economically unsustainable.”

Ideally, teenagers will continue to study GCSEs and try to improve their grades. However, they could instead take functional skills or other maths qualifications approved by exams regulator Ofqual.

Professor Alison  Wolf, who headed a government review of vocational qualifications, described continuing in the two subjects as the most important recommendation of her inquiry.

“Good English and maths grades are fundamental to young people’s employment and education prospects,” she added.  “Individuals with very low literacy and numeracy are severely disadvantaged in the labour market.”

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has, meanwhile, warned that the most disadvantaged young people risk going from Neets (not in employment, education or training) to truants if they cannot afford to stay on when the leaving age rises to 17.

Up to 52,000 extra young people are likely to have to stay on as a result of the new legislation coming into force, but Barnardo’s estimates many are likely to face financial hardship.  Education maintenance allowances have been scrapped for 16 to 19-year-olds and Barnardo’s says the replacement Bursary Fund is inadequate to meet the costs of the poorest teenagers – forcing them to decide between a hot lunch or getting the bus to college. It wants extra Government funding to aid them.

“The opportunity to continue learning for an extra year is a golden one for the most disadvantaged students,” said Jonathan Rawlings, Barnardo’s assistant director of policy, “but if they can’t afford or use this chance properly the risk is they will go from being ‘Neets’ to truants.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Pre School Practitioner

£6 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, they are loo...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development & Relationship Manager

£45000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development & Relati...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant - Startup

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Personal Assistant is require...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific