The government has announced a change to the condition of funding surrounding English and maths GCSE resits for 2019-20.
Students with a grade 3 (or D) will continue to be required to retake the qualification until they get a grade 4.
As at present, students with a grade 2 or below can either take a GCSE or functional skills level 2 qualification.
But, once they have achieved this, “there is no requirement to undertake further maths or English qualifications to meet the condition of funding”, said a statement from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
So once students have achieved a functional skills level 2 qualification, they will not be required to work towards a GCSE or take another “stepping stone” qualification.
Read more: Labour vows to scrap GCSE resits policy
Background: Do I have to resit GCSE English and maths?
'Doesn't impact the bulk of learners'
“This adjustment allows providers and students with prior attainment of GCSE grade 2 and below to choose which level 2 qualification is most appropriate,” the ESFA statement adds.
Cath Sezen, senior 14-19 policy manager at the Association of Colleges (AoC), welcomed the "positive" announcement, but said it would only affect a small proportion of the students resitting GCSE English and maths.
"It's good to see that the Department for Education is focusing on this area," she added. "It's something, but it doesn't impact the bulk of learners."
Reformed functional skills
About 20,000 grade 2 students in each subject attending colleges could be affected by the move, according to the AoC.
Last week, Tes revealed that the specifications for the new functional skills qualifications might not be ready until the May half-term, according to a Department for Education official.
Earlier this week, the future of GCSE qualifications was called into question. Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons Education Select Committee and a former skills minister, said they should be scrapped and replaced by a qualification that recognises academic and technical skills alongside personal development.
The message was echoed by former education secretary Lord Baker - the man who introduced GCSEs. He said that they had become "redundant", as young people were now required to stay in education or training until the age of 18.