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Basic Skills and Mathematics: Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 64956, tabled on 25 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of allocating funding to (a) maths and (b) skills teaching for the provision of education to young people for whom a lack of a qualification in those subjects presents a barrier to social mobility.

Answered on

6 July 2020

We recognise the importance of achieving a Level 2 qualification in maths to improving social mobility. We have taken a range of actions to ensure young people secure the maths skills they need for employment, further education, and everyday life.

We require students who leave key stage 4 without a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and English to continue to study the subject and be given the opportunity to achieve a GCSE grade 4 or above during their 16 to 19 study programme. However, we recognise that for students with prior attainment of a GCSE grade 2 or below, a Functional Skills Level 2 may be more appropriate. We have recently reformed Functional Skills qualifications to improve their rigour and relevance to employers.

For both T-Levels and apprenticeships, we fund providers to support learners to achieve up to an approved level 2 qualification in maths and English qualification where they do not already hold a suitable equivalent qualification.

We are providing an additional £35 million to 16 to 19 providers to support students on Level 3 courses who do not yet have a GCSE maths and English grade 9 to 4 or equivalent, so they can re-sit their exams in these critical subjects.

Since 2018, we have been investing in a network of post-16 schools and colleges to be Centres for Excellence in Maths to improve the quality of maths teaching in post-16 institutions. There are 21 centres across the country – with at least one in every region of England – which are designing new and improved teaching resources, building teachers’ skills, and spreading best practice across the country through their wider networks with the aim of improving the outcomes of the lowest attaining maths students.