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Schools 'should be fined for students' exam failures'

Secondary schools should be fined for every student who fails to achieve at least a C in English and maths at GCSE, a think tank has said.

The "re-sit levy" would be passed on to further education colleges, the Policy Exchange suggested, which currently do not receive extra funding for remedial classed but are forced to deal with large numbers of young people having to re-take the two key qualifications.

A think tank has suggested schools be fined for each pupil who fails to get a C in GCSE maths or English Credit: PA

According to a report by the think tank, in 2013 almost five times the number of students re-sitting English did so at a further education college than at a school - a total of 100,239 students compared to 20,544.

Headteachers have said such a plan would be an "own goal" as some students, for a variety of reasons, will never be able to get a C or higher in those subjects.

We agree that these students need continued help and support in English and maths post-16, and that FE colleges and other providers should receive the funding they need to deliver these courses. However, the idea of a resit levy on the secondary schools where these students first took their GCSEs would be an own goal.

Schools are already facing real-terms cuts in their budgets and unprecedented difficulties in recruiting staff, particularly maths teachers.

A resit levy would potentially worsen this situation, further reducing their capacity to put in place the very provision that would enable them to meet the challenge of enabling more pupils to achieve these grades in maths and English GCSEs.

– Brian Lightman, Association of School and College Leaders

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A breakdown of GCSE results by English region

Official figures have revealed how the English regions fared in terms of their GCSE results this year.

London achieved the highest percentage of A* and A grades in England. Credit: JCQ
  • North-east England saw the biggest year-on-year rise in the number of candidates receiving grade C or above.
  • East Midlands and south-east England were the only two regions to show a fall in the number of candidates receiving grade C or above.
  • London showed the biggest rise in candidates getting A* or A
  • South-east England showed the greatest fall.
Improvements at grade A*-A and A*-C by English region 2014-2015 Credit: JCQ

Awards body: 'Little change in this year's GCSE results'

The head of the Joint Council for Qualifications has said there is very little change in this year's GCSE results but education policies are continuing to impact on entry patterns and results.

At a national level there is very little change in this year's results but we do see educational policies continuing to have an effect on entry patterns and results at a subject level. This is particularly the case in English, mathematics and the sciences.

– JCQ director general Michael Turner

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GCSEs: More achieve grade C or above but top grades fall

More student are achieving a grade C or more in their GCSEs Credit: PA

The proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has risen again this year, but top grades have fallen for the fourth year in a row, according to official figures.

They also reveal:

  • In total, almost seven in 10 (69%) entries were awarded A*-C, up 0.2 percentage points on 2014.
  • There was a 0.1% point drop in A* grades - the fourth year running that there has been a fall - with 6.6% of entries given the highest mark this year.
  • 73.1% of girls' entries awarded at least a C grade, compared to 64.7% of boys'.
  • The numbers of students taking languages at GCSE has fallen.Entries for French were down 6.2%, German entries were down 9.2% and Spanish down 2.4%. But grades for languages have improved.
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