The BBC are reporting that hundreds of thousands of pupils in England are stuck in a cycle of resits, as they try to achieve a grade C in maths and English. Schools and colleges say it is putting pressure on their teachers, and their budgets.
Schools and college budgets are being put under extra strain and teachers and students are under extra stress. This is because of a policy that the government introduced in 2013.
The policy says that students in England, who fail to get a grade C or above in GCSE maths or English should carry on studying the subject, or subjects, until the age of 18, with the aim of achieving this mark. The problem is that many students are taking the exams again and again and still can not get to that magical C grade.
This is leaving many students, exhausted, frustrated and probably some even suicidal. Many will never get to the C grade. I am not suggesting that if you just missed a C grade you could not be offered a second or even a third chance to achieve that mark, but that forcing children… Actually really adults, (They could be married with children of their own), to go back into a class with 15 year-olds or even with their peers not going to help many of them.
Even young people who are getting on well and succeeding in a college course in a practical subject, find that they are taken away from the subject that they are succeeding in. They are forced to take time out of the course they are achieving to study one they will not achieve. And of course, there are the very children who might actually need more, not less time to compleat the vocational course work.
Studies suggest that of the students who fail to get a C grade at 16 only 6.5% eventually got a C grade or above English and 7% in maths. Over 90% are struggling for a grade they will not reach.
Many of these are wasting valuable time that they should be investing in the skills and qualifications that they could achieve and that would equip them to be productive members of society.
I suspect many that would have thrived in a vocational training situation end up depressed, on drugs and in dead end west of life jobs, in part, because they were forced to continue in academic studies when their skills and abilities lay in a more practical area.
We need a lot more provision for people who are not academic but are very capable or even gifted in other areas.