All qualifications are important but of all the qualifications studied at school Maths and English are the ones that will unlock the most doors and as discussed in my first blog post the better the grade the more doors you will open.
Grade 4 and grade 5 are grades which really start to open doors. All GCSE grades are passes but under the new system grade 4 is referred to as a 'standard pass' and grade 5 is referred to as a 'strong pass'.
What does this mean in practice?
Students who don't achieve at least a grade 4 in their GCSE Maths and or English will have additional lessons built into their study program at college and will have to resit the qualification(s). The college does not have a choice in this as their funding is dependent upon this. Resits are in November or June. In some cases students will sit a different English/Maths qualification such as 'entry level' but they will still have to study them at some level.
Grade 4 in English and Maths is valuable, it provides access to a far wider variety of college courses. Not achieving grade 4 could see students limited to level 2 courses (GCSEs are level 2 courses, A levels and level 3 BTECs are level 3). Grade 4 is often required by employers and will certainly give a candidate an advantage over someone who has not achieved a grade 4.
We love English and Maths we realise that not all students are of the same persuasion. For those students who are not huge fans of the subjects the big motivator to work really hard and achieve at least a grade 4 should be that they will never have to touch it again. They can then focus on enjoying the subjects that they really want to study.
Grade 5 opens up an even wider range of courses at college.
In addition to affecting a young persons choices for post 16 study most university courses will require students to have a least a grade 4 or 5 in GCSE Maths and English.