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English and Mathematics

Volume 552: debated on Monday 29 October 2012

13. What recent progress he has made on ensuring young people leave school or college with a good understanding of English and mathematics. (124987)

We are developing a new rigorous English and maths curriculum, which will help young people become fluent in the basics. The new phonics test will identify pupils in year 1 who need extra help, and the new year 6 grammar, spelling and punctuation test will ensure the basics are secure.

My hon. Friend will know that the recent CBI survey showed that 42% of employers were having to provide remedial training in numeracy and literacy to college and school leavers. Will my hon. Friend set out the steps the Government are taking to make sure that these colossal costs to businesses are reduced?

My hon. Friend has made a good point. The Secretary of State has already said that his ambition is for virtually all students to study maths until the age of 18, and we will introduce a funding condition for students who have not achieved a GCSE in maths so that they can reach that level of aptitude. We will also look at mid-level qualifications for students who have maths GCSEs but do not want to take a full A-level in maths, so that there is an alternative path for them to take.