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Maths and English

Over one third of all young people leave post-16 education each year without having a GCSE A*-C in English and maths - in 2011 to 2012, 44% did not achieve this in both subjects.

Despite their importance in gaining any kind of work, around a fifth of young people are never taught maths and English after failing to achieve a GCSE pass at the age of 16.

Reminder: students with GCSE maths and/or English at grade D

Any student who has a grade D GCSE in either maths or English must be enrolled on GCSE or an approved IGCSE qualification from 1 August 2015 onwards. Students with a grade D will not qualify for funding if they are enrolled on stepping stone qualifications.

This applies to all full time students (those on a study programme of at least 540 planned hours if age 16 to 17 or at least 450 hours if age 18). Part time students can continue to enrol on stepping stone qualifications.

Individualised Learner Record (ILR) users can run Funding Information System (FIS) reports to check their students are compliant with this requirement.

Further information is available on GOV.UK

School census users can use the new interactive tool to help understand how their school census data is used.

The English and mathematics requirement of study programmes means that students who have not achieved an A*-C GCSE in these subjects by age 16 will continue to study towards achieving them as a part of their 16 to 19 study programmes. This requirement will be enforced by making the study of English and mathematics a condition of the student place being funded from September 2014.

Where a student does not have a GCSE A*-C, they must take either:

  • English and mathematics GCSEs or i-GCSEs (including level 1/level 2 certificates) that count towards the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) measure in KS4 performance tables
  • Functional skills and free-standing mathematics qualifications registered with Ofqual, as a stepping stone to GCSE study
  • English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualifications registered with Ofqual, as a stepping stone to GCSE study
  • For further information, see the Education Funding Agency (EFA) overview of the 16 to 19 funding formula

The new grading system

There has been talk, that despite Rt Hon Nicky Morgan's reference to the new grade 5 (in the 9 to 1 scenario) as a "good pass", for the sake of English and maths conditionality of funding this would be moved down a notch to a 4.

This has now been confirmed on the EFA website

'Aligning the condition of funding with the new GCSEs'

As part of the government's plans to ensure pupils can compete with the top performers in the world and secure the best jobs, a new grading system is being introduced from 2017 at GCSE to replace the A to U system with a new 9 to 1 scale. Under the new system, a 'good pass' – currently a C grade - will become a grade 5 under the new scale. The new 'good pass' is comparable to a high C or low B under the current system, making it comparable to the standard aimed for by pupils in top-performing countries such as Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The government intends to align the new GCSE good pass in English and maths with the 16 to 19 English and maths funding condition. A phased approach will be taken. For the academic years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 the funding condition will be based on the new GCSE grade 4. Beyond this, we intend to revise the funding condition to reflect the new GCSE good pass (grade 5). The specific date from which this will take effect will be confirmed closer to the time.

Information: advisory report on maths and English condition of funding

Since August 2013 any student without a good pass in maths and English is required to continue to study towards the GCSE grade C standard either directly or via a stepping stone qualification as part of their study programme. This has become a condition of funding from August 2014.

A report is now available to download from the EFA Information Exchange which gives institutions an indication of students' compliance with the condition of funding had it applied in the 2013 to 2014 academic year.

This is provided to support you in assessing your current students and taking action this academic year if students are not compliant with the condition of funding. This is the third and final advisory report on this condition of funding to be issued to institutions.

Please raise a service request if you have any difficulties accessing EFA Information Exchange.

Information: 16 to 18 performance tables

As announced in the 16 to 19 accountability consultation response, from 2016 the DfE will introduce more rigorous minimum standards and publish clearer and more comprehensive performance information about schools and colleges.

To ensure this information is fit-for-purpose the EFA will introduce a more robust methodology so that achievements are presented against the provider that is responsible for the student's study programme.
This will involve using R10 data to establish the provider delivering the core aim for students in scope for reporting in the DfE 16 to 18 performance tables, please see page 6 of the '16 to 19 Accountability Headline Measures: Technical Guide' for more information.

Information: students meeting the 16 to 19 maths and English condition of funding

The EFA is providing information to all institutions that use the ILR, to show their students' compliance with the maths and English condition of funding.

To access the information on the EFA Information Exchange, go to the 'Other Submissions' folder then look under 'Academic Year 14/15'.

School and academies will not receive similar reports from the school census, because we do not receive this data during the year. However we encourage schools and academies to check their data to ensure all students who should be studying maths and/or English are doing so.

For those students not meeting the condition of funding, there is still time to enrol students on appropriate maths and/or English courses before the end of the academic year to avoid losing funding in 2016 to 2017.