The number of GCSE English and maths entries for the November sitting has increased by 55 per cent on last year, according to new figures from qualifications regulator Ofqual.
The data shows that the number of GCSE entries in November 2018 increased to 104,710 from 67,755 in 2017. “Variations in entries over recent years may reflect changes in re-sit requirements related to funding, the transition from legacy to reformed qualifications, and availability of assessments,” says the regulator.
Condition of funding
The number of people re-sitting GCSE exams in FE colleges has risen significantly in recent years, after a funding condition was introduced, which specifies that all students who have achieved a grade 3 (or D under the old GCSEs) must take the qualification again. This policy had been tipped to be overturned for 2017-18, but the change did not materialise.
This year’s results show a drop in the number of older students getting the grade 4 or above they need. Figures released by the Joint Council for Qualifications on GCSE results day in August showed a 14.3 percentage-point drop in the proportion of learners aged 17 or older getting a grade 4 in maths compared with last year, and a 2.4 percentage-point drop in English language. This prompted FE leaders to again call for a change in policy.
The increase was largest among those re-sitting maths, where there was a rise of 58 per cent in entries, totalling 55,125. Most of these entries (93 per cent) were for the foundation-tier paper and the remaining (7 per cent) entered for the higher-tier paper. Entries in English language also increased, to 49,585, which is 50 per cent more than in 2017.