Exam results published today reveal lower success rates for students taking vocational GCSEs.
While the overall A*-C pass rate rose to 61.2% for non-vocational GCSEs, the corresponding pass mark for vocational subjects – known as applied GCSEs – was just 39%.
Although this figure is up 4.3% on last year, a spokesperson for the Department for Education and Skills admitted that it was still lower than the government would like.
Applied GCSEs were introduced in 2002 and this year were sat by 150,000 young people – a 34% increase on last year’s figures.
Welcoming their increasing popularity, schools minister Jacqui Smith said: “Increased entries in GCSEs in vocational subjects show that pupils are responding positively to the choice and opportunities we are offering them from 14. These qualifications are supported by employers and will form the building blocks of the new specialised diplomas announced in the 14-19 White Paper.”