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Supporting statements

The fact that a large number of young people are impacted by the funding rules for English and maths re-sits isn’t something that’s gone unnoticed. Organisations, individuals and learners support our mission to get the current funding policy changed to enable Functional Skills to be funded for all learners having to re-sit their qualification.

Hear from our campaign supporters

Our survey says

Mark Dawe

“The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) is clear that maths and English is critical and everyone should strive to achieve as high as they can and as a minimum be functional at level 2. But we are happy to support this campaign because every year we wonder how the government can accept another 150,000 GCSE failures and talk about a successful resits policy.  It is not the FE sector’s fault that GCSE retakes don’t work; it is what providers have inherited and the design of a qualification that isn’t fit for purpose alongside the development of real workplace skills. AELP advocates an initial assessment for those 16 year olds that get a D or grade 3 to decide whether they should do a resit or learn Functional Skills.  This is common practice in FE anyway and every provider can tell you who has a chance of passing a GCSE and who has very little chance.  Furthermore, with a strengthened curriculum being introduced in September, no one who can justify why apprentices needing Functional Skills should be funded at half the classroom rate.  If this government is really serious about helping the most disadvantaged and the importance of English and maths, the funding needs to change now.”


Catherine Sezen
Senior Policy Manager (FE), AoC

“English and maths are crucial skills both for employment opportunities and for like in general, but GCSEs in English and maths should not be viewed as the only way to improve these skills. Greater flexibility is needed in the condition of funding to ensure that colleges can meet the needs of all students and support successful outcomes.”

Roshan Dough
Visiting Professor at Oxford University

“I do believe Level 2 Functional Skills as an alternative qualification to GCSE is much more suited to students who have been disengaged with education or those who have little interest in literary discussions - which is what the existing GCSE English course primarily consists of. Functional Skills is real, concrete, functional and based around skills that are relevant and pertinent to the world of work. It is about time we've established something as viable option for many students disenfranchised from education and learning.”

Dave Stanton
Assistant Headteacher

“Making students resit GCSEs multiple times is hard on both them and the school or college. It is my experience that after failing the first resit a large proportion of students then continue to fail subsequent resits, often by the same small factor. This reinforces the students feeling of failure and convinces the student that he/she cannot achieve, and provides a barrier to progressing to the ‘pass standard’. Studying an alternative option to GCSE gives the student a fresh start. It is a chance to break the cycle of failure and give the student fresh optimism and confidence.”

Josh Dixon - former Functional Skills learner
CEO YourCode Group

"Without my Functional Skills qualifications, I would not have won Company or Entrepreneur of the Year. The Functional Skills qualification gave me my foundations to build upon, helping to progress my skills but also have access to funding and qualifications that I wouldn't have been able to without them."

Cher Lonegan
English and Literacy Curriculum Lead at Beacon School

“We deliver both GCSE and Functional Skills in English and maths.

I feel that some learners are at a disadvantage when it comes to GCSE, some are not capable of accessing/interpreting the questions and that the Functional Skills are a better option for employability.”

We surveyed 2000 people across Britain to find out the general public’s view on English and maths qualifications.