Almost 100,000 children are leaving school without five good GCSEs, Children's commissioner reveals

Almost 100,000 children are leaving school without five good GCSEs - PA

Almost 100,000 children are leaving school without five good GCSEs, the Children’s Commissioner has revealed. 

Almost one in five 18-year-olds are fail to achieve five GCSEs with grades A* to C or the equivalent in alternative qualifications, according to a new analysis. 

The proportion has increased by 24 per cent over the past three years after falling for the previous decade, a report published by the Children’s Commissioner has found. 

The rise in the past three years comes despite the compulsory education age in England extending to 18 during this period and children therefore being in education for longer. “This means that children spent more time in education, yet were still more likely to leave without basic qualifications,” the report said. 

Its authors suggested that reforms in 2013, which were aimed at boosting the status of technical education, reduced incentives for schools to offer alternative qualifications to GCSEs. The reduction in courses such as GNVQs, which are suitable for less academically able students, has led to an increase in those leaving school with no basic qualifications at all. 

“These are children who will have spent 15 years in compulsory education, often having more than £100,000 of public money spent on their education and yet leave the education system without basic benchmark qualifications,” the report said. 

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, said urged ministers to launch a review into why more youngsters are leaving school without basic qualifications. 

 “It is shameful that last year almost 100,000 children in England left education at 18 without proper qualifications,” she said. 

 “While we should celebrate the progress that is being made in raising standards for millions of children, it should never be an acceptable part of the education system for thousands of children to leave with next to nothing.”