It's not so much about how many GCSEs you obtain but what GCSEs you obtain. This may seem to be a surprising statement to make but recent research has found that there is a strong link between cities that have a high youth unemployment rate with the lack of GCSE English and Maths. Between 2007 and 2010 nearly 50% of pupils living in cities left education without GCSE grades A* to C in these subjects.
In Hastings and Grimsby where youth unemployment stood at 8.4% and 8.8% respectively between 2007 and 2010, the percentage reaching the official government benchmark of five A* -C GCSEs, including English and maths was 35% and 45%.
However, in Cambridge, where youth unemployment stood at 1.3% for the same period, young people obtaining five good GCSEs including maths and English reached 54%.
The above findings appear to reflect that over the last few years, schools have been encouraging pupils to study for qualifications that are seen as easier to achieve to boost their position in league tables. Pupils living in cities that have less buoyant economies are not being equipped with the skills required in the changing labour market. The consequences could leave young people with less employment opportunities in cities where skills in English and maths are in high demand.
The government is taking steps to rebalance these issues to ensure schools are equipping young people with the basic numeracy and literacy skills they will need to get a job.
The Office for National Statistics in October showed the UK jobless total for 16 -to 25 year-olds, hit a record high of 991,000 between June and August 2011.
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