We are pleased that the OECD recognises in their review the changes we have made in recent years to ensure that all young people leave full-time education with a high standard of English.
The primary National Curriculum emphasises the teaching of early reading through systematic phonics and the importance of accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. At secondary school pupils are expected to read a wide range of texts fluently and with good understanding.
We have reformed GCSEs to ensure they are more stretching and provide greater assurance of core literacy than the old GCSE. We are also taking action to improve the rigour and relevance of English Functional Skills qualifications, which are taken by many students and apprentices aged 16 and over.
To ensure all young people have every opportunity to secure proficiency in English, since 2014 we have required every 16-19 year old not holding a good pass in GCSE English and mathematics to continue to study these subjects as part of their 16-19 study programme. We have also embedded English and mathematics into our work-based training programmes such as apprenticeships and traineeships.
Last summer’s GCSE results show that over 4,000 more students aged 17 and over secured GCSE English at grades A*-C than the previous year.