English Language GCSE should be scrapped to “end the misery” of a system which labels more than a third of 16-year-olds as failures, according to an inquiry set up by a headteachers’ union.

The qualification is “not fit for purpose” because it focuses on a restrictive choice of writing tasks with an emphasis on literary analysis, rather than on competency in English, the report states.

Set up by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the commission calls for the GCSE to be replaced with a “Passport in English” which would focus on skills sought by employers.

The inquiry was launched to boost the prospects of the “forgotten third” who currently fall short of achieving at least grade 4, the equivalent of a grade C, in both GCSE English and maths.

It has also recommended scrapping the “wasteful” GCSE resit policy for English and maths, and it urges the government to stop describing grade 4 as a “standard” pass. 

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