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College celebrates successful GCSE retake results

Aug 20 2015

Dudley College is celebrating a significant increase in the number of students securing successful A – C grades in their GCSE resits results. This follows a huge increase in the number of school leavers and adults retaking their GCSE mathematics and English exams this year. The majority of these learners had failed to gain a grade C or above whilst at school.

The college provides training and support to young people and adults who previously failed to achieve a grade C in mathematics and English. The majority of our students are young people who struggled at school to secure high GCSE grades.

“It’s a good news story for our students retaking their GCSE mathematics exam as 7 out of 10 students have achieved successful A-C grades,” explained Neil Thomas, Vice Principal for Curriculum at Dudley College.  “What’s really amazing is that the majority of these students left school without their GCSE mathematics, but within a year of starting college they’ve secured a grade C or above, alongside their vocational studies. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of young people attaining very high grades (A*-B) than ever before.”

These very strong results for GCSE mathematics, combined with the college’s record A level grades are helping to position Dudley College as the region’s most successful provider of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects.

A third of the students retaking their GCSE English gained grade C or above, during their first year at the college. Once again, these young people were combining their GCSE studies with their vocational course work.

The number of students retaking GCSE at the college has risen from 159 in 2014/15, to over 470 in 2015. This increase is attributed to a government priority to raise the level of English and mathematics skills in the UK as our numeracy and literacy standards are substantially below that of other developed countries.

To support this priority, all further education colleges have been set the difficult task of supporting their students to achieve an A – C GCSE grade whilst studying their chosen vocational qualification, if they entered college with a GCSE grade D or less.

This new initiative impacted on school leavers who had failed to achieve a pass grade whilst at school and adults returning to learning on Access courses who had needed GCSE English or mathematics to progress onto university.

Lowell Williams, Principal at Dudley College explained: “Across the college we’re delighted with the GCSE results our students have achieved this year. We are also proud that our expert teaching and support staff have given so many of these young people and adults a second chance to achieve a recognised set of GCSE results.

“It’s extremely rewarding for the students who left school with poor results, as they now have a chance to progress in their studies or applying for jobs, as they now have the essential mathematics and English grades employers are looking for.

“Our college GCSE student cohort is distinctly different from those young people who have just completed their GCSE studies at school. It’s extremely misleading to compare the results in league tables as the work the college undertakes with these learners is often challenging. We have to manage their GCSE studies alongside their vocational training and persuade the students, who often think they’ve left GCSE exams behind them once they left school, that English and mathematics are a valuable commodity in the world of employment.”

The challenge of getting more students through their GCSEs in 2015-16 escalates as the cohort of students retaking their exams significantly increases to over 1,200 students next year. This growth is a result of a record number of school leavers enrolling at the college, as well as existing students taking further GCSE resits.