Thousands of pupils who fail to achieve a top GCSE pass in maths or English will be forced to continue studying the subjects.
Ministers will insist that every college, school or employer offering training will enrol their students on maths and English courses until they achieve a C grade pass or quit education. The Government is already introducing a new education leaving age of 18 – which can mean anything from a day a week's training with an employer to studying full-time for A-levels.
At present, about 40 per cent of 16-year-olds fail to make the grade. The Government will introduce changes to regulations in September 2013. In most cases, the aim will be that the student resits their GCSE with a view to getting a top grade pass. There will be alternative qualifications for those for whom the hurdle in trying to get a C grade pass is deemed too high.
Professor Alison Woolf, who recommended the changes in a report on vocational qualifications, said: "The changes being made recognise that maths and English are the most important vocational as well as academic skills."