Why a Grade C in GCSE Mathematics is no longer good enough

Traditionally if 16 year olds had a grade C in GCSE mathematics they have ‘crossed the wire’, they are ‘in the fold’.  Is this still the case?

Well listening to teachers and journalists one would think so but there is a hidden change in English and Welsh Society that affects graduates.

To get into university, you need certain grades at GCSE including a grade C or above in mathematics, to go alongside your A’levels.

OK fine and dandy! Off you go to university, work hard for 3 years and get a good degree, 2.1 or 1st and then you apply for a graduate trainee scheme with a company. This is where it goes wrong. The reason is, many of our major companies have now increased their graduate trainee requirements to include a grade B in GCSE mathematics.  We now have the ridiculous scenario in some university towns of final year students working for their finals in their degree and going along to night school to upgrade their GCSE in mathematics.  There seems little doubt that this practice will grow, the wire has moved upwards, the desired grades are now, A*, A and B.  When the new GCSE starts, the Welsh government will continue with the current A* to C grades but in England the government will move to a number scale.  The top grade will be a grade 9 with an A*, according to  press reports, about a grade 6.  Please bear  in mind that it is projected that only about 3% of candidates will get a grade 9.  So presumably the desired grades will be 9 to 4 but we will wait to see what the top companies decide.

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