From education to employment

Record GCSE results are a boon for FE too

More than 600,000 pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland excitedly opened their GCSE results yesterday in yet another record display of performance.

GCSE results have been rising steadily for almost 20 years, and now 21 per cent of exams are being awarded an A* or A grade. Some 67.1 per cent of results also fell into the A* to C range. Although the majority of those celebrating last night were teenagers leaving secondary school, the GCSE excellence extends to many in further education as well.

Lee Davies, deputy chief executive of the Institute for Learning (IfL), which represents teachers, trainers, tutors and student teachers across the FE and skills sector, said: "The media focus will be on schools, but many of the learners are young people and adults who have studied in further education: young people improving or adding to the qualifications they took at school; adults studying after a break from education, through general interest or to open new career opportunities.

"Thanks to the excellent subject and teaching skills of teachers in FE, thousands of learners succeed in getting the qualifications they need for further study, employment and to enrich their lives. The role that FE teachers play in helping them on the path to further success should not be overlooked."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber agreed the record results were "a fitting testament to the hard work and commitment of our young people and their teachers".

Mr Barber said: "The higher levels of achievement in GCSEs and vocational qualifications, including the new Diplomas, are a cause for celebration and the Government should build on the foundations it has put in place to develop a qualification system that meets the needs of all our young people."

However, with unemployment now rising to nearly three million, a lot of young people are facing increasing uncertainty about the next path to take.

Sylvia Perrins, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, said: "We should all be concerned about the fears for a lost generation of young people who are facing uncertainty about their futures by encouraging greater awareness of learning options and paths. Academic studies are not the only route to success in life."

"If you haven’t achieved the GCSEs results that you had hoped for then it is important not to panic. There are many vocational options that will lead to a rewarding and interesting career. This is as true for financial services as it is for more practical related industries such as manufacturing or construction."

(Pictured: A* GCSE Italian students at East Berkshire College receive their results)



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