Recent statistics from the Department of Education suggests that ‘the proportion of 19-year-olds with level 2 and 3 qualifications has dropped for the first time in more than a decade after seeing a steady percentage of young people achieving GCSE & A Level qualification.
The article further explained that the percentage of 19-year-olds achieving a level 2 qualification, which is conserved a GSCE grade between A*-C grade fell to 86.7 per cent, from 87.5 per cent. Level 3, which would be equivalent to A and AS level, fell from 60.4 per cent to 60.1 per cent in the same period.
A poll completed by TES showed that students have found passing GCSE maths very difficult and that they wouldn’t consider applying for a Maths A Level qualification. CASCAID’s research from the annual Careers Report also highlights that young people recognise the value and importance of strong maths skills and know that they need to continue to develop the skills in this area, which is an area of weakness by many employers cite.
One of the significant changes recently has been the education reform. The changes in curriculum reform have been introduced as a response to criticism that the 14-18 qualification suites were too easy. Not only has there been a change in how GCSE’s and A Levels are graded but there has also been an increased emphasis in Vocational Qualifications and Apprenticeships.
It has been argued that the lack of training for STEM careers has been the reason why there is a gap in this area. The Government have planned to address this situation and Chancellor Phillip Hammond, wants to create a new technical route into work and reform education by replacing existing qualifications with routes linked to the needs of employers. This can help businesses in the long run especially in the engineering and technological sectors.
The Careers Report further highlighted that STEM careers remained amongst the lowest where only 4 of the most popular careers in terms of exploration are associated with STEM. These are either related to Biological Sciences or Information Technology.
In conclusion, even if there has been a drop in qualifications being achieved it is in part due to the need of students to take on more work based education.
Time will tell if these figures will keep on decreasing but if it results in more students going on to do a STEM related career then these it can only be a good thing.
For more information, you can download our Curriculum Reform eBook here
Dale Houlden, CASCAID Marketing Team