The extra £48.5m in the budget to support college students pass their GCSE maths is to be celebrated – and it’s an important signal. 

It’s to be celebrated because it’s recognition that colleges need investment to make new policies succeed. Too frequently, new policies, like the
English and maths condition-of-funding requirement, are thrust upon colleges without a thought to the cost of successful implementation.

But it seems with the T-level investment announced in the April budget, and now this extra £48.5m, the message has at last got through to the  Treasury. And it’s an important signal because it means the policy is here to stay.

This won’t be a popular thing within the sector to say, but the GCSE resit policy is better than no policy. It’s typically misunderstood: it’s only those that nearly passed (grade D or 3) that colleges must ensure study again towards improving their GCSE by at least one grade. 

Employers (even colleges and apprenticeship providers) typically demand an A*-C at GCSE (or now a 4-9) before interview. It’s not in our gift to change that, so if colleges don’t help their students get a GCSE they can’t progress into quality jobs.

And where the budget didn’t deliver on an increased rate for 16-to-18s, don’t rule out the DfE redistributing internally to pay for it.

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  1. FE does need investment so why not invest the money in FE instead of attaching it to a failing compulsory resit policy. This is sticking plaster tactics to save face rather than admit the compulsory resits do not work.