AELP: 2017 should be last year for compulsory GCSE resits

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, says the GCSE English and maths resits policy is 'leading to mass failure'

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The government’s GCSE resists policy should be abandoned at the end of the year, according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).

Ahead of GCSE results day, Mark Dawe, chief executive of the AELP, has reiterated its opposition to the government's current GCSE resits policy – whereby students who obtain a grade D or 3 in English or maths are required to retake the subject. He said that the policy is “leading to mass failure”, and that it would be in the best interests of the country to champion functional skills as an alternative.

Mr Dawe said: “English and maths are important for the whole population but the resits policy is leading to mass failure.  The government should abandon it now and instead focus on functional skills being a good alternative."

In October, Tes revealed that an alliance of organisations across the FE sector was calling for the policy to be changed.

'Not the answer'

In April, the Education and Skills Funding Agency confirmed that students would not be able to take functional skills instead of resitting their English or maths GCSEs if they failed their exams.

At the time Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute, said that GCSEs were a widely recognised qualification, “but retake after retake is not the answer”. 

Functional skills are currently being reformed by the Education and Training Foundation, but the programme is not expected to be complete until 2019.

Mr Dawe added: “Ministers should fund functional skills properly if they are genuine about the apprenticeship programme being a quality option for young people and adults.”

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