The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has questioned the sense of forcing resits on learners who fail maths and English GCSE after the pass rate fell for 17-year-olds.

The 2014/15 academic year was the first in which learners who previously had not achieved a grade C in either subjects, but had continued onto post-16 study, were required to either resit their GCSEs or equivalent level functional skills exams.

It is a key reason why the number of 17-year-old learners across FE and schools who sat maths GCSEs increased 30.2 per cent from 100,587 last year to 130,979 this year, while the number sitting English rose by 22.9 per cent from 79,045 to 97,163.

Meanwhile, the A* to C pass rate for that age group fell from 38.9 per cent last year to 35.8 per cent for maths, and from 37.9 per cent in 2014 to 35.1 per cent this year for English.

An AELP spokesperson said that this fall strengthened its view that more post-16 learners who failed maths and English GCSE first time round should do functional skills instead of GCSE resits for FE and skills courses.

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