GCSEs increasingly irrelevant to digitised economy and future jobs

Commenting on the publication of the 2018 GCSE results today (23 August 2018), Chief Executive of the Edge Foundation said,

Edge is delighted for all the students celebrating their exam results today. However, the figures show a disturbing trend which illustrates the narrow curriculum and its increasing irrelevance to our digital age. 

Entries in Creative Subjects including art and design subjects, drama, media and performing arts, have dropped by 20 per cent since 2010. Equally worrying is the fall in entries in computer subjects by almost 13 per cent over the last two years, set against a skills shortage of 600,000 in the tech industry. Perhaps most bewildering is the fall of 57 per cent in entries in Design and Technology – a critical subject for our future engineers, innovators and problem-solvers. These are the subjects which equip young people with the skills for jobs in growing industries in the 21st century and beyond, but they are being squeezed out. 

This year’s cohort will need to be creative, resourceful and resilient to thrive in the workplaces we have not yet imagined. The rote-learning culture which feeds the EBacc curriculum not only fails to develop the characteristics and behaviours which are critical for future careers, but fails to offer opportunity to some of the brightest and the best students who are limited only by a lack of skill in passing exams. 

Edge is delighted for all those with passes on their results slip, but young people who feel disappointed should be reassured that it is skills, experience and character, not numbers, which employers are looking for.

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