A significant number of young people in England are failing to gain basic qualifications in English and maths by the age of 19, according to a new report by the University and College Union (UCU). The study reveals that over 700,000 teenagers, nearly a quarter of the age group, have not achieved a grade C or above in GCSE English or maths. This shortfall in basic skills is particularly pronounced in certain parts of the country, with areas like Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight seeing 35% of teenagers not meeting this standard.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, warns that this skills gap could have serious implications for the future economy. She argues that these basic qualifications are a minimum requirement for most jobs and without them, young people will struggle to find employment. The UCU is calling for a national strategy to address the issue, including the introduction of a ‘student premium’ for 16 to 19-year-olds, similar to the pupil premium in schools. This would provide additional funding for those who need extra support to achieve these qualifications.

The Department for Education has responded to the report, stating that it is taking action to address the problem. This includes a requirement for students who do not achieve a good pass in English or maths to continue studying these subjects. They also highlight that the number of young people achieving these qualifications has been increasing over the past few years.

Go to source article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27610828?ocid=socialflow_twitter