Hartlepool headteachers have mixed response to decision to make teenagers resit key GCSEs

Andrew Jordon.
Andrew Jordon.

THE decision to make teenagers resit English and maths GCSEs if they don’t score a grade C or above has been met with a mixed response by town headteachers.

Under new Government reforms, 16-year-olds who fail to get a C grade in the two core subjects must learn them again and sit the exams again until they gain the key qualifications.

Education secretary Michael Gove described good English and maths qualifications as “the most important vocational skills a person can have” and the changes have been introduced from the start of this term.

Andrew Jordon, headteacher at Hartlepool’s Dyke House Sports and Technology College, backed the reforms describing the changes as a “good thing”.

Mr Jordon said: “Without that basic level of qualification in those two core subjects children, young adults and adults will struggle to progress on in whatever walk of life they go into.”

Mr Jordon said he appreciates some students may find the exams particularly tough but added: “I think its up to schools to up their game to do all possible to ensure students do get the C grade or above at the first possible opportunity and if they don’t to give them the confidence and know-how so they know they can achieve it the next time.”

Students who wish to start at English Martyrs Sixth Form College must have a C or above at both English and maths, regardless of the reforms.

Headteacher Michael Lee said: “As far as we are concerned it will make little difference.

“We always say to students coming in if they haven’t got a C or above in the core subjects then they need to study them.”

But Anne Malcolm, headteacher at Manor College of Technology, in Owton Manor Lane, is firmly against the new policy and claims it could have a negative impact on students who don’t achieve the C grade in the two subjects the first time around.

Mrs Malcolm told the Mail: “A D grade isn’t a fail yet now students who may have done particularly well to get a D will have to sit the exams again.

“It’s hammering home the message that only a C or above are positive grades when that isn’t the case for all students.

“Vocational education is a really good way forward for a lot of students and some of those are the young people who perhaps haven’t scored a C but that doesn’t mean they have no English or maths skills.”