GCSE results: too many school leavers face jobs market without adequate skills, warns BCC


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GCSE grades have fallen for the first time in 24 years and The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned too many employees are entering the workplace without the basic literacy and numeracy skills.

There has been a fall in the proportion of GCSEs awarded an A*-C grade, for the first time since the exams were introduced 24 years ago.

This year's results, published yesterday, show 69.4% of entries earned grades A*-C, compared with 69.8% last year. There is also a fall in the proportion of pupils receiving the top A* and A grades, down to 22.4% from 23.2%.

Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: "We congratulate GCSE students today who are reaping the rewards of their hard work. Young people have a lot to offer, and businesses are keen to employ them.

"Unfortunately, in recent years too many new employees have lacked basic skills and required remedial training for inadequate literacy and numeracy. Employers must be assured that qualifications reliably reflect a given level of skill, and will welcome an end to artificial grade inflation and planned changes to increase rigour.

"We know that teachers and pupils are working hard to raise genuine skill levels, particularly in English and Maths, and this must remain a top priority. Employers will reject any measure of success that focuses exclusively on the most capable half of students, without supporting other young people in reaching high levels of literacy and numeracy.

"The increase in entries to science exams this summer is good news for business. Young people with strong qualifications in the sciences remain sought-after by employers, and they can expect to succeed in exciting and rewarding careers.

"BCC research shows that a lack of language skills has been a real barrier for UK businesses looking to sell their products and services overseas. One swallow doesn't make a summer, but we hope the slight rise in entries for modern languages this year is a signal that more students will study a language in future years."


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