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English And Maths

English and Maths are building blocks for the future, whatever your child decides to do they will need qualifications in English and Maths in order to progress. Many of the careers that young people will enter in the future do not exist yet. The qualifications and skills they gain now will equip them to progress whatever route they follow.

In August 2015 the government introduced a radical change to the requirements surrounding English and Maths. All full time students starting study programmes who have a grade D GCSE or equivalent in English and Maths must now be enrolled on a GCSE or equivalent. They must continue studying until they get a grade C or above. Up until now, pupils have been able to drop the subjects at the age of 16 without having gained a qualification in them. It means hundreds of pupils in school and college will now to have to carry on with the subjects until the age of 18. This may mean taking on extra classes at school or college. Every support you can give your children to achieve the best grade they can at GCSE will be a good investment of your time.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education had this to say about the changes:

‘Numeracy and literacy are fundamental skills. If young people have not mastered them by 16, it is more likely they will be held back for the rest of their life. That is why we want all young people who do not achieve at least a GCSE C in English or maths to continue studying until they reach that standard.’ 

Read below to hear what others have to say about the importance of Maths and English:

‘There is a vast difference between candidates who attain a D grade and those that get an E or F. In better preparing students for the world of work and social relationships, we need to recognise that for some, attaining functional skills in both subjects is far more realistic and preferable. This should be our aspiration.’

Lola Okolosie, The Guardian, 2013

What do employers think?

‘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. It should also be a national wake-up call.’

‘The competitiveness challenge that the UK faces is global and unrelenting. Increasing education standards is extremely important to businesses.’

Mike Harris, of the Institute of Directors


‘Nineteen year olds who leave education without qualifications in English and mathematics, with little or no experience of the workplace, are unlikely to be attractive to potential employers. Around four in 10 young people do not achieve a Level 2 (A-C grade GCSE) qualification or above in those subjects by the age of 16. Too few of those who continue into the post-16 sector – just one in six – subsequently reach that level by the age of 19.’

Annual HMI report 2014 

‘Good English and Maths are fundamental to young people’s employment and education prospects. Individuals with very low literacy and numeracy are severely disadvantaged in the labour market.’ Professor Alison Wolf, 2011

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