NEW College is supporting a drive to attract high-achieving graduates to teaching – as almost half of 16-year-olds fail their English and maths GCSEs.

The latest statistics show that 40 per cent of all 16-year-olds do not achieve a grade C in their GCSE English and maths exams, putting British youngsters far behind their international peers.

Although many of these students do go on to further education and college, 90 per cent of them still fail to achieve the minimum standard by the time they reach 19.

As part of steps taken to tackle the problem, the Government already requires that all young people who lack a GCSE in maths or English must continue to work towards it.

At New College in Swindon a number of students continue to study English or maths as necessary as part of their further education choices.

Graham Taylor, principal and chief executive at the college, said: “If 40 per cent of students don’t get grade C or higher in their GCSE exams then some of those must be in Swindon.

“Last year I think 56 per cent of students had five GCSEs in Swindon.

“All the students on our course have to have achieved a C grade or higher in their English and maths GCSEs, and actually now we can’t get funding for people who do not continue to study English and maths one way or another.”

In an attempt to tackle the issue, many further education and training providers are offering financial incentives of up to £30,000 to attract the highest achieving graduates into teaching.

David Russell, chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation, said: “It’s a critical time to address the maths and English standards in England.

“We need to break the cycle. New maths and English graduates considering a career in teaching tend not to know about the further education and training sector.

“If they did, most would choose it. The scope for making a difference is immediate and immense.

“The variety of career routes is considerable. And top salaries exceed those in schools, as colleges are much larger and more complex institutions. Too many able and committed young graduates have overlooked teaching in this sector in the past.

“These generous new financial incentives should catch the attention and prompt them to have a look at what this dynamic and diverse sector has to offer them. Once in, I think they won’t look back.”

To find out more about the full range of financial incentives available, and where to train, visit or phone 0300 303 1877.