Just 12 per cent of students who fail to attain an A*-C in English or maths at 16 go on to do so by 19, according to new research.
The report by youth and education charity Impetus-PEF calls for additional funding for 16-19 education. Life after school: Confronting the crisis, argues that “GCSE catch-up provision is not working for young people who need to attain these grades post-16, irrespective of their background or where they study”.
Among young people eligible for free school meals (FSM) who do not secure grade C or above at 16, only 17 per cent go on to catch up in English by 19, and just 8 per cent catch up in maths. In comparison, of their peers who are not eligible for FSM, 25 per cent catch up in English by age 19; and 13 per cent catch up in maths.
Andy Ratcliffe, chief executive of Impetus-PEF, said: “Resitting maths and English GCSEs should be a second chance for young people to succeed. It should be a sequel with a happy ending. Instead it’s normally a re-run, a second chance to fail.
“We need to give schools and colleges the support and incentives to help all young people get the qualifications they need, whatever their backgrounds.”
'The best chance to succeed'
Rebecca Allen, director of Education Datalab, said: “From our research, there’s no doubt that FE colleges face extraordinary pressures which show in their students’ catch-up results… Young people attempting these qualifications deserve the best chance to succeed and they’re not getting it.”
The charity is calling on government to establish an “excellence in English and maths fund” to provide colleges and schools with an additional £935 per pupil retaking English and maths, with one half provided on enrolment, and one half on successful completion.
Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Our young people deserve the best chance to succeed. Giving catch-up providers extra funding and the right incentives will improve standards and resource. A must for our young people.”
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