Sector needs flexibility to deliver new GCSEs

11th December 2014

The post-16 education sector supports the Government’s ambition to promote GCSEs as the national standard of English and maths but needs a flexible environment to successfully implement and deliver these new qualifications. This is the headline finding of an implementation consultation carried out by NIACE on behalf of BIS and DfE.

A range of stakeholders from across the sector – including FE colleges, independent training providers, awarding organisations and employers – also stressed that:

  • the Government must continue to support providers in raising the standards of teaching;
  • embedding and contextualising the teaching and learning of English and maths to make them more relevant to learners is vital;
  • ‘stepping-stone’ qualifications are crucial, which may include Functional Skills, although this should not lead to their devaluing; and
  • technology must be used to enhance teaching, learning and assessment practices.

Joyce Black, Assistant Director for Development and Research, said:

“Much expertise, innovation and creativity already exists within the sector to support the successful implementation of the new GCSEs. However, continued investment of support and resources from providers and Government alike is essential to ensure the reformed GCSEs are implemented properly. This will ensure that all learners have the opportunity to benefit from improved skills in English and maths.

“We know from what learners tell us – including from our Adult Learners’ Week Awards – that qualifications mean a great deal to people of all ages. We should never underestimate the impact that a GCSE in maths and English can have, not only on the individual and their future career and well-being, but also on their family. Qualifications are a useful and rewarding benchmark and help to motivate ambitions and to raise aspirations.

“Having a range of flexible qualifications so that adults can access the learning that they both want and need is essential so they can succeed and thrive in their careers and in their lives.”