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Colleges face crisis over GCSE English
SWINDON colleges are desperate for more GCSE English staff now that students must continue to study the subject if they fail to achieve a C grade.
A government ruling in place this year means that students who fail to achieve a grade C or higher in English and maths GCSEs now have to continue to study the subjects until they are 18.
New College has been recruiting for new staff since the start of the school year to teach youngsters the qualifications alongside their college courses, but so far have been unable to fill the positions.
Cilla Paget, faculty manager at New College, said: “We’ve been having trouble recruiting GCSE teachers and now we are desperate.
“Now that students have to have a GCSE English we need more staff, but a lot of people are having trouble finding people with the right qualifications.
“If students are in college and they didn’t achieve a C at GCSE they have to be working towards it.
“We needed three members of staff and we are desperate for one more.
“We would welcome applications from anyone with a degree in English who might be able to teach the subject.”
Until September this year, students were able to drop English at the age of 16 without having gained a qualification in the subject.
Many never studied these subjects again and prompted concerns from employers that too many young people lack literacy and numeracy skills necessary for work.
But the ruling means that many students will have to re-sit their exams two or even three times before they leave education and this in turn means more staff will be required to provide teens with the qualifications they need.
Amanda Burnside, executive director for enterprise and learner services at Swindon College, said: “The government's ruling is that students should be working towards a GCSE at Grade C so many college students take Functional Skills qualifications in English and maths to progress towards the GCSE level and we have a large team teaching these at Swindon College.
“Employers particularly value the Functional Skills qualifications as students learn how to apply English and maths in a work context. Swindon College also offers a GCSE resit programme in English and maths.
“While we don’t have staff shortages in these areas at the moment it is likely to become a problem, due to the national demand, in the future and the college will welcome applications from graduates who would like to train as English and maths teachers.”
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