Functional Skills Students Made To Retake GCSE’s

For those of you who are new to my blog let me start by saying that as well as being a self employed artist I am also a student and a massive politics enthusiast. 
I wish to explain clearly and rationally my disgust at the latest in a string of changes to our British Education system, specifically in relation to Functional Skills and GCSE’s. 
In the past students who have failed to, or were unable to achieve a grade C or above in maths and English GCSE’s were required to take a equivalent qualification called functional skills. This qualification, if completed to a Level 2 was originally equal to a grade C and was widely accepted by employers and most universities.  
This year (academic year of 2014) the current government has changed the system meaning that students who have strived to achieve their Level 2’s in Maths and English now have to study GCSE maths and English. 
Some may argue that this presents an exciting opportunity for students wishing to progress to university level education as some universities were not willing to accept Functional Skills. But I ask my readers to consider the following points:
  • GCSE’s were designed to be completed over a two year period NOT during a one year college  course.
  • Asking students to study GCSE’s whilst working on a college course places them under unnecessary stress and will beyond no reasonable doubt effect their performance on their main qualification (i.e. the whole reason they are attending college)  
  • It is vastly unfair on students to change the rules of education year by year. I know from personal experience it damages the morale of students. It is hugely confusing and stressful to not know where you stand year by year as the standards keep being changed. 
  • It makes the Functional skills qualification many worked hard for seem worthless and a waste of time. If the government wishes for all students to achieve GCSE’s then scrap the functional skills qualification and simply place everyone in GCSE classes.
Before you draw judgement or label me an “attention seeking, whiny student” please consider my case. 
I passed my functional skills Level 2 exams first time last year and secured a place on the course I have been working towards my whole life (a Level 3 NVQ). I also work (and I am dependant on my job for personal expenses including travel, food and clothing). HOW can I be reasonably be expected to complete a Level 3 Course, GCSE’s and work in the space of a year. To me and many others this is an impossible workload and we are simply not being given answers from our teachers and colleges. 
Not only does this (in my humble opinion) show poor leadership from our government but also a total and blatant lack of empathy towards students. 
Please comment and share this article as I hope to garner as much publicity towards this cause as is humanly possible. 

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