This week, the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) has altered the “conditions of funding” for 16-19 pupils required to re-sit their maths and English GCSEs.
Previously, a condition of 16-19 funding was that, if a year 11 pupil achieved a grade 3 or below in their maths and/or English GCSE, they were required to re-sit the qualification(s) until they achieved at least a grade 4 or they left compulsory education aged 18. The new update means that pupils who achieved a grade 2 or below (or are studying part-time post-16 and achieved a grade 3 in their GCSEs) will be able to either resit their GCSEs or “study towards a pass in functional skills level 2”. However, those who achieved a grade 3 in their year 11 maths and/or English GCSE, and are studying a full-time post-16 course, will still be required to re-sit their GCSE(s) until they achieve at least grade 4.
This move comes on the back of concerns raised by the Association of College Leaders (ASCL) who launched a commission of inquiry over last year’s GCSE results. One of ASCL’s primary concerns was that those pupils “who did not achieve a grade 4 [In maths and/or English GCSE]… face[d] the grind of compulsory resits” despite the fact that “the percentage of pupils attaining each grade is more or less fixed by a system known as comparable outcomes”. This means that roughly the same proportion of pupils will not reach grade 4 each year, putting low attainers at risk of having to take continuous resits.