Our ask - English and maths for all

 An open letter from NCFE


English and maths are key subjects and provide invaluable knowledge and skills to young people, so why is it acceptable to disadvantage those who are trying and struggling to achieve qualifications in these subjects? The pressure to resit GCSEs can be hugely overwhelming. One size doesn’t fit all, and we need to recognise that not everyone can pass the traditional exams with flying colours.

Alternative qualifications like Functional Skills ensure that learners adopt good standards of numeracy and literacy, whilst being taught the practical skills they need to progress through to college and University should they wish.

Functional Skills is an option for those who achieve a grade 2 or below, so why can’t it be extended to those who have failed to achieve higher than grade 3? Students shouldn’t have to keep resitting their exams. Instead, acknowledging different learning methods will inevitably lead to more success in the future. Let’s create an even greater parity of esteem between academic and vocational learning.

We’re asking government to overturn the current policy which means that learners who achieve a Grade D must resit a GCSE exam until they pass for English and maths. This isn’t the case in any other subject area or at any other grades so seems extremely out of place and disadvantages learners.

Functional Skills are developed to allow learners to gain their key skills in English and maths. The qualifications are designed to help learners engage successfully by applying the skills in a practical way so learners can progress to further learning and employment.

We believe learners should be permitted to complete an alternative assessment at the same level (eg Functional Skills at Level 2) with no issues, creating a level playing field for all to achieve the English and maths qualifications they need.

- Stewart Foster, Managing Director of NCFE

Message to the Goverment - Fund Functional Skills to reduce student stress

Read the full press release