I am writing this on GCSE Results Day 2020 and will be looking at the effect of these results have on post-16 English and maths 2021-21, as well as giving an overview on the Centre Assessed Grades for Functional Skills.
I would like to start with a heartfelt congratulations to all the learners celebrating their GCSE results and to all their tutors for the hard work that has gone into this year.
Results published by Ofqual show that the percentage of grade 4s and above have increased in GCSE English and maths among 16-year olds (see table). This will mean fewer of these learners will need to re-sit English and maths as part of their study programme or apprenticeships.
For those re-sitting in post-16 education, there is also good news as the number of learners who got at least a grade 4 increased in both English and maths. In English it increased from 31.9% in 2019 to 41.1% in 2020. In maths it increased from 22.3% in 2019 to 33.3% in 2020.
This means there is the possibility of a lot less English and maths going on post-16 from this September. It will be interesting to see the decisions providers make around autumn re-sits as well.
Congratulations are also in order for Functional Skills learners who achieved their qualifications. As I write this there are only a handful of centres that are being followed up with about their Centre Assessed Grades. In total, 2,600 centres were in line with their historical performance allowing us to release their grades. A further 1,600 centres were asked to support their grades with forms of evidence, which was satisfactorily supplied.
I am incredibly proud to have been part of this process and to have been able to support providers in discussions with the Government. As Vice Chair of the Federation of Awarding Bodies Functional Skills Group I was able to ensure that the voice of the provider and the learner was kept at the forefront of all conversations with Ofqual regarding CAGs.
I am prouder still of the work of practitioners and providers to work tirelessly to achieve these results through their diligence in collating the evidence. I was asked a lot at the beginning of this process as to why the approach taken with Functional Skills was so rigorous and robust, and Pearson is pleased to confirm that none of the Functional Skills grades have been adjusted. All the hard work from practitioners and providers at the start of the process has definitely paid off and hopefully people will recognise the support that was offered to ensure the process was as smooth as could be.
What providers are saying about the Functional Skills CAG process
"As soon as we were able to get our team together and discuss the CAG grading process, it was very, very smooth. We had a range of evidence and as a result we were able to communicate regularly as we had updated information from the DfE and Pearson.’’
Jonathan Kay, Head of English and Maths, Tyne Coast College
"I attended Chris' webinar on the FS CG guidelines, which covered the process, timelines and clarification on evidence which can be submitted. This was really useful as Chris also was a valuable resource to answer a multitude of questions that arose from the webinar. I was able to deliver the process, guidelines and requirements successfully to the wider business so that our CG operation ran as smooth as possible with a successful outcome.’’
Hanni Cowan, Apprenticeship Learning Support Coordinator, Travis Perkins
"The CAGs for Functional Skills gave us the opportunity to keep progress moving for those learners who were ready to take exams. We fully understood that past performance would be used as a benchmark for the awards being made and planned accordingly. We are pleased that all of the results came back as hoped, which has led to some learners now completing their entire apprenticeship.’'
Ann Heaton, Functional Skills Tutor, Encompass Development
Pearson’s guide to Understanding how we calculated Functional Skills results for summer 2020
September is just around the corner, and for FE colleges this means the enrolment cycle has already begun. To support this, we are running some free training sessions, which will also be recorded and uploaded to our website for everyone to access afterwards. The feedback from these training sessions has been very positive so far, with lots of insightful discussions and learnings coming out of them. I would highly recommend signing up to one of them before committing to a curriculum plan for 2020-21.
Chris Briggs, Sector Manager Post-16 English and Maths