The recent initiative to allow students to retake their GCSEs in English and mathematics has been met with mixed reactions. While some see it as an innovative way to help those who may have struggled to achieve a C grade, others worry that it could leave weaker students behind. It is true that most higher education institutions already offer courses in these two subjects, and many students recognize their importance in being considered employable. However, the policy does not address the issue of how this new initiative will be financed, and there are concerns that budget cuts could leave sixth-grade schools and universities unable to provide the same level of support.
It is understandable that those who do not perform highly in a subject may feel frustrated and disaffected with education. However, it is important to remember that GCSEs are still an important part of the college application process. They provide universities with an indication of how well a student could do at level A, and can be the deciding factor when two applications are equally good. It is also worth noting that for very competitive degree courses, universities do not accept retaking GCSEs.
All UCL courses require GCSE passes in English and Mathematics in grade 5 or higher, and some courses may request higher grades in these subjects. It is clear that GCSEs are still an important part of the college application process, and should not be overlooked. While it is understandable that those who struggle with basic literacy and numeracy skills may not need a C grade at the age of 19, it is important to remember that universities will take these results into account when making decisions about who to accept onto their courses. In order to ensure that all students have access to the same level of support, it is essential that the government provides increased funding for post-16 education.
This should include smaller classes and more freedom for schools to move away from the curriculum when it suits the needs of their students. By doing this, we can ensure that no student is left behind.