If you were to ask any employer or further education lecturer they would tell you that a 16-year-old with a GCSE grade C in English often cannot spell everyday words, is unable to use simple punctuation effectively or is incapable of correctly laying out a formal business letter.
Likewise, the possession of a grade C in maths is no indicator of numerical competence.
The Department for Education and Skills announced the introduction of a functional element in GCSEs ("New 3Rs test for teens", TES, December 16) designed to address these problems and various organisations representing secondary school teachers are up in arms.
No surprise there, then!
Martin Rolfe 17 Keyberry Park Newton Abbot Devon