Students who obtain a GCSE grade 4 in GCSE English and maths at school will not be required to resit the subject after they progress into FE, the government has confirmed.
Education secretary Justine Greening has announced this afternoon that grade 4 will be classed a “standard” pass – “the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post 16”. Grade 5 will be described as a “strong pass”. The terminology will replace the description of the current grade C as a "good" pass.
This marks a significant change in policy. It had previously been announced that grade 5 – on a par with a high C or low B – would be the new benchmark for a “good” pass. For the first two years under the new system, the Department for Education had said that colleges would not be required to offer resits to students with a grade 4 (equivalent to a low C) in English or maths as an interim measure.
But today’s announcement reveals that 4 will in fact be classed as the “standard” pass, which Ms Greening said will “have real currency for individual pupils as they progress to further study and employment”. Grade 5 will be described as a “strong pass”, and will be one of the benchmarks used to measure the performance of schools.
'GCSE standard pass a credible achievement'
In a letter published today, Ms Greening writes: "Under the new system, a grade 4 and above will be equivalent to a C and above. This is – and will remain – the level that pupils must achieve in order not to be required to continue studying English and maths post 16. Therefore, a GCSE pass at new grade 4 will continue to have real currency for individual pupils as they progress to further study and employment. Where employers, FE providers and universities currently accept a grade C we would expect them to continue recognising a grade 4.
"The government wants to see the percentage of pupils achieving a grade 5 and above rising as the performance of the education system improves - but this will take time. Indeed the process used by Ofqual to avoid grade inflation will ensure that broadly the same proportion of pupils achieve the grade 4 and above this summer as achieved the grade C and above last year. This is why I want to be very clear to schools, employers, colleges and pupils themselves that a 'standard pass' is a credible achievement and one that should be valued as a passport to future study and employment."
Last week Tes revealed that post-16 providers are adopting a host of different entry criteria for the reformed GCSEs.