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Readers reflect on 'everyday' maths GCSE proposal

Readers have been sharing their thoughts on a proposal to introduce an additional GCSE in 'everyday' maths to help raise numeracy levels.

Here is a selection of comments left on the ITV News Facebook page:

Children should be given a proper and thorough grounding in the basics of maths and numeracy when in primary school. Bring back the weekly mental arithmetic and reading tests that my generation had up until the 1960's!

– Susan

Everything I studied for GCSE Maths disappeared from my memory the minute I left the exam room because the vast majority of it had no place in everyday life. I am the first to admit I am horrific when it comes to maths!

– Sarah

Too many changes [are] happening at the moment ... It's just too much for schools to handle at the moment. I suggest coming back to the idea once they have tested the new changes.

– Ash

Lack of everyday maths skills a 'massive challenge'

National Numeracy - a charity focusing on adults and children with low levels of numeracy - has described the lack of everyday maths skills as a "massive challenge" for the UK.

Its research has found that:

  • Around half of adults have the everyday maths skills expected of primary school children
  • Three-quarters of adults cannot show the numeracy levels needed to get a decent GCSE grade
  • Poor numeracy costs the UK economy around £20 billion a year

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Charity calls for additional GCSE in everyday maths

A national charity has called for an additional GCSE in "core maths" to be introduced to teach pupils how to use numeracy to solve everyday problems.

National Numeracy has called for an Credit: PA wire

National Numeracy said it would "expect most children to take both GCSEs and all to take at least the new numeracy (or core maths) GCSE".

"It would be recognised by students, schools, employers and further and higher education as different from, but no less valuable than, GCSE maths," the charity added.

The idea is part of a seven-point plan unveiled by the charity, which also calls for a new measure of numeracy skills at age 14, which could then be used as a "benchmark" of the level of numeracy they will need for their future studies.

Students who score A to get grade 7 under GCSE reforms

England's exams regulator Ofqual has confirmed the new grading system for GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths, will see A*-G grades replaced with 1-9 - with 9 the highest result.

These figures indicate that fewer pupils could achieve the very best results in these subjects following the introduction of the new grading system:

  • The same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and above as currently achieve a grade C and above.
  • The same proportion of teenagers who currently score at least an A will gain a grade 7.
  • The top 20% of those who score at least a 7 will be awarded a grade 9.
  • According to last year's national results 3.3% of English GCSE candidates were awarded an A*.
  • In English literature, 5.5% of exams gained an A* last summer, while 4.6% would have scored a grade 9 under the overhaul.
  • In maths, 4.9% of last year's entries - about 37,248 in total got an A*, while 2.9% - about 22,045 - would have achieved a grade 9.

Just 3% may get highest GCSE marks under new reforms

GCSE reforms could see as few as 3% of students receiving top marks Credit: PA

Fewer students may achieve the highest marks in new GCSE English and maths exams, it has been revealed.

Under major reforms to be rolled out in 2017, only a fifth of pupils who would currently achieve at least an A grade will be awarded a "grade 9", the top result available in the system.

This could mean as few as 3% of students could achieve the highest mark in the future.

GCSE results see increase in A*-C grades

There were celebrations and commiserations today as hundreds of thousands of pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their GCSE exams results.

The proportion of students receiving A*-C grades in their GCSE exams has risen for the first time in three years.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

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Dyslexic GCSE student celebrates A* in English

A student whose dyslexia is so severe she did not learn to read or write until she was 10-years-old has achieved an A* in her English literature GCSE.

Holly Sayer also gained an A in English language in her results which totalled 10 GCSEs including two A*s, three As, two Bs and two Cs.

Holly Sayer, 16, who is dyslexic, celebrates after receiving an A* in English Literature at the ARK Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Credit: PA

The 16-year-old, who studied at the Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: "There was a lot of stress involved and now I am really happy."

"Personally, I'm quite heavily dyslexic and yet my favourite subject is English. "The only way I could get round it was through the extra-curricular help that I was given."

She added: "I feel just a little bit chuffed, I think the hard work has most certainly paid off."

Sayer, who hopes to one day become a film director now hopes to complete her A-levels and go to Cambridge University or an Ivy League college.

Schools Reform Minister: Old GCSE system 'didn't work'

Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb said that changes to the exam system that are behind today's "variable" GCSE results are in the best interests of the pupils.

An exams system had developed that worked against the best efforts of teachers and the best interests of pupils.

These results show our plan for education is correcting that.

The number of children now taking exams at the right time, the number studying for academic GCSEs and the higher standards achieved are hugely encouraging.

– Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb
  1. London

GCSE results - top achievers celebrated

School exam changes behind 'variable' GCSE results

The biggest impact on this year's GCSE results have stemmed from changes that mean students did not sit exams early, compared to previous years when pupils could take GCSEs multiple times, exam chiefs suggested.

This year, only a teenager's first attempt at an exam would count in school league tables, so schools that had traditionally made use of the winter exam season, entered pupils early, or made use of resitting are likely to have seen the greatest changes.

There has been a significant amount of change to the system this year and although UK level figures are relatively stable we expect more schools and colleges to see volatility in their results. The extent of this volatility will depend on how much change from their usual practices they experienced and how they adapted.

Entry patterns are very different this year. We have seen a dramatic decline in the number of entries from 15-year-olds, which is largely due to a change in the school accountability measure, where a candidate's first entry counts in performance tables, and the move to end-of-year exams in England.

As we would expect, where the change in entry patterns is greatest, such as the sciences, English and maths, we have seen some impact on results. But despite these changes and the potential for increased centre volatility, candidates can be confident that standards have been maintained.

– Michael Turner, director general of the JCQ
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