to think that instead of insisting students who don't get C in maths and English continue it post 16, the Government should put a lot more resources into supporting them a lot earlier?

(79 Posts)
kim147 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:38:36

Maths and English are essential skills an employer is looking for. And there's no doubt that many pupils do struggle in these subjects at school. I also recognise that there are students who don't take them seriously at school so possibly the reality at post 16 that they have to do more studying might make them try harder.

However - many pupils do struggle with maths and English and schools do know who they are. So wouldn't it be better if more resources were put in earlier, targeted teaching, specialised teaching for those who have dyscalcula and a focus on the actual maths / English skills employers need rather than "mathematics" - Pythagoras etc which only have specific applications.

Will resources and funding be provided in primary and secondary schools?

spg1983 Mon 02-Sep-13 12:12:07

We did the pilot for a few years for functional skills and found that the problem with the functional skills exam in maths for example was that children who had good maths skills but were weak at literacy really struggled to access the paper, i.e. understanding the questions and what was required of them, plus not being able to express their answers very well. They were getting B or A at GCSE but failing to even get level 1 functional which is equivalent to less than a C if I remember correctly?

meditrina Mon 02-Sep-13 12:12:26

"So what happens if the child fails the second time (because with the best will in the world they are never going to get above an E) do they have to keep going until they can leave school?"

They have to keep studying maths and English, for the whole time they remain at school. Even if they're not going to get a pass, let alone a good pass, the aim is to use the time to get them to the best possible standard. These are subjects that really make a day to day difference.

spg1983 Mon 02-Sep-13 12:17:09

Plus with our cohorts in all those years, no-one who got functional skills level 2 (the C equivalent) failed to get a C so it seemed a bit pointless as it didn't add to the numbers getting a C or above.

IceBeing Mon 02-Sep-13 12:29:54

YANBU.

Why oh why don't we have a system where you can retake years early on if you have fallen behind?

One repeated year in primary school could give you the confidence to perform well all the way through school which would work fantastically better than a sticking plaster at 16 when you already wasted your education because you couldn't read well....

IceBeing Mon 02-Sep-13 12:31:13

and there is that business with summer born kids under-performing all the way to A-level. They could wait a year at any point in primary and then have the same outcomes as the winter born.

It is SO dumb it makes me ANGRY.

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 13:47:40

I managed to get my August born daughter to go through school a full year behind her formal year group- she repeated a year in primary. Im not sure if nobody noticed, or nobody cared once she got to secondary, but I was never called on it.

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 13:50:19

daftdame, there are not that many jobs for brilliant artists out there that dont involve teaching. Teaching you have to have GCSE grade C maths and English- science too, I think, soon. I dont think its a good idea to refuse to do it. Baby steps get most of them there in the end.

bigkidsdidit Mon 02-Sep-13 13:56:06

In Scotland we can, Ice. My DS is January which is the equivalent k August in English schools, and I'm deferring his entry a year, which is not only allowed, it is encouraged, especially for boys. If we can manage it there is probably no good reason why England couldn't also.

itsatiggerday Mon 02-Sep-13 14:13:24

I think it's a good idea. Kid in our school failed maths GCSE repeatedly and kept saying he didn't care because he was seriously talented in art and planned to pursue that. Was predicted awesome a levels in art subjects while the school re entered him for maths in each sitting but it was when he was given a conditional offer for a degree in fine art which included a requirement for a C in maths gcse that he actually passed the thing. Motivation is a wonderful thing and if this sweeps up a bunch of kids who otherwise think it doesn't matter, then that's got to be worth it.

There will always be kids for whom the qualification itself is not doable either for SN reasons or something else and there isn't a law requiring them to sit the exams but there are a chunk of kids who just need to believe that they need to do it to do what they want to do.

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 14:17:30

beastofburden Agreed, but if someone has an outstanding talent and the determination, it is possible to be successful. In fact it would be a shame to deny outstanding talent. People do make it, regardless of not having conventional skills, sometimes it is this that spurs them on...

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 14:20:05

itsatiggerday If you are successful from selling your own art you don't necessarily need a degree to do it.

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 14:20:10

DaftDame true, I do agree. And retaking GCSE as an adult is sometimes better for those people, if it comes to it. DD is retaking maths as often as she has to, because her dream is to do childcare, despite her disability which means among other things that she is shocking at Maths. but she managed to nail Cs in English and Science in her retakes, yay, so we are getting there. She doesnt resent having to get maths, its just one of those things, and she is reatking it for the third? fourth? time alongside her Level 3 childcare qualification.

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 14:21:40

itsatiggerday Agreed motivation is key.

Blissx Mon 02-Sep-13 14:22:06

Doesn't make sense to me-one minute Gove is saying he wants to cut down on re-takes and the next minute the govt. are saying constant re-takes is ok just as long as it is just these two subjects and only if the child is Post-16?
Keep the previous modular system and the will be fewer pupils that this apples to.
And they say teachers need to do better....

Blissx Mon 02-Sep-13 14:22:47

Auto-correct is the devil-applies not apples!

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 14:23:09

beast Hope all goes well for your DD. smile

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 14:25:30

daftdame thank you cake and all the best to the talented artist in your family

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 14:30:11

beastofburden Not sure there is an artist, new generation, yet. I do have artist friends though.

manticlimactic Mon 02-Sep-13 14:41:19

Are they not already doing this?

My daughter took her English GCSE in yr9 then in yr 10 and then twice in yr11. Started off with an E then progressed to a D. She needed a C to get onto the college course she wanted but they took her on the course saying she just had to resit her English. She finally got a C \o/ but if she hadn't then she would have been retaking it again on the 2nd year of her course.

Now just for her to get a C in Maths hmm

Ilovefluffysheep Mon 02-Sep-13 14:45:33

I don't think my dyslexic son will ever get a C in English, and maths would be pushing it. He is very intelligent, but just can't get to grips with English in particular due to his dyslexia. The more practical subjects he is doing really well in - he recently got a B for his electronics coursework and I was so proud of him.

fancyanother Mon 02-Sep-13 14:53:48

It applies to a level 2 qualification in Maths or English, which would include functional skills qualifications at level 2, which may be more suited to those who do not take to the GCSE. However, as someone upthread said, the problem is not with teachers or in FE (I work in FE and in all the colleges I have worked in, students have to do a functional skills qualification if they don't have GCSE C in English or Maths) but with employers and some universities, who do not accept it as an equivalent qualification.

Loa Mon 02-Sep-13 14:55:07

Yes I think more help early on would be better.

However emphasising how important Maths and English grade C is can't be bad even if a small minority have such serious underlying issues they will never reach that level.

The local secondary school was boasting in local paper how well it had done in G.C.S.E - then next few sentances it showed the figures including Math and English above grade c - well over half of the pupils had failed to reach that level.

Grade C in maths and English is a basic requirement for so many jobs and other courses - yet over half that school year failed to meet that and the school still seems to think that is acceptable.

I do know they offer a G.C.S.E in dance – I can’t help but wonder how many of the good grades were in subjects like that - which is a bit sneery I suppose but I just can’t see where that gets them especially without the basics.

daftdame Mon 02-Sep-13 15:01:47

Yes, I think the only thing this is good for is that the eduction system cannot just give up on students. They cannot not say, this is your lot and not teach them further or refuse to enter them for further resits.

Is is difficult though, because making it a compulsory requirement in Education means the students ultimately have less choice.

soul2000 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:21:25

I was saying on another thread that pupils who achieve lower than Es or Fs should be kept in school to improve on their grade"s. It seems that the Education authorities agree, i also understand that for some pupils with difficult learning conditions achieveing Es and Fs could be a great achievement. Other posters have said even those pupils when resitting the Maths/English later can achieve far greater grades.

Another thing i dont understand why pupils who struggle to achieve C grades in Maths/English are put in for so many Gcse"s. All the effort should be focused on the pupil passing Maths/English with the best grade even if first time it is not a C.

Brokensunglasses. If the school that you attended had the same resources and teacher training as today i am pretty sure you would have achieved a far greater grade than F. The best way to check and (SURPRISE) yourself about how much Maths you do know, is to go on to the many level 1-2 websites. I took a few level 2 tests for a try and despite when at school i somehow managed to get an U for Gcse Maths, scored on both level 2 tests 36 out of 40. Apparently the pass mark is 21 out of 40, and it is considered by some people as equal to a C Grade in Gcse Maths.

It is amazing how much Maths you can pick up in work or in life, and that is why pupils who fail Gcse Maths need to be encouraged to resit and improve their Maths, if the teacher can make Maths less boring and more intresting, it is amazing how pupils might stayed switch on. If a "Maths Teacher" could ask their students to work out the agent"s commission on the "Gareth Bale" deal, rather than the very old and boring way of trying to calculate how long after the "Boat had sunk" would the shark eat you type stuff. The pupils would come to the Maths lessons in anticpation, and look forward that is the best way of educating pupils not boring them.

Beastofburden Mon 02-Sep-13 15:24:41

loa- we have that problem with our school too- too many GCSEs per child, not enough focus on the ones that are really useful. Improves their league tables no end, but leaves kids without the ones they actually need. I wanted DD to take six useful ones but no, she had to do a dozen including some completely pointless ones.

am laughing as they then refuse to allow kids to progress to their sixth form, which is very aspirational, unless they have good grades. But now, I expect they will have to take all 16 year olds who want to stay, as they are not allowed to leave- and if the school did not help them get Cs in GCSE maths and English htey might not get onto courses at the FE college.

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