Policy and drivers

This section looks at a range of national and international drivers which are shaping the English and maths agenda in the FE and Skills sector. Here are the headlines - follow the links to sub-pages for further information.

  • Organisations should understand the range of policy changes impacting on the sector, and their rationale in terms of the needs of individuals, employers and the economy as a whole. These drivers provide both opportunities and significant challenges for the sector. (See Policy Drivers in Action)
  • Recent OECD research has placed England amongst the bottom three countries surveyed when comparing literacy and numeracy proficiency of 16-24 year olds. The research also shows unequivocally the impact of poor literacy and numeracy on incomes, jobs & life chances, health & prosperity, as well as on national economic competitiveness. (See International Context)
  • 16 to 19 year olds are now required to continue studying English and maths until they achieve an A*-C/ 4-9 (2016) and thereafter 5-9 grade. The Government has introduced a new headline 16-19 English and maths performance measure. New apprenticeships also have a stronger focus on English and maths. (See Government White Papers)
  • English and maths are now conditions of funding for all 16 to 19 study programmes. Since 2015 students enrolling with a GCSE grade D are obliged to retake the qualification. Meanwhile, reforms to apprenticeships will give employers direct control of funding. (See Funding)
  • Ofsted report that where English and maths are working well, staff value the subjects and promote the importance of GCSEs to learners, raising learner motivation. However, in too many providers, Ofsted found that English and maths requirements were not being met adequately - and that too much English and maths teaching is not good enough. (See Ofsted)