Stephen Timms – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Defence

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Stephen Timms on 2016-05-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what opportunities his Department offers to trainee soldiers aged under 18 to resit GCSEs as part of their elective personal development.

Mark Lancaster

Army junior entry training provides for educational opportunities up to the equivalent of AS level. The Army is ensuring that it remains aligned with ongoing changes in the state education sector and balancing these with the career development needs of its people and capability development requirements. All junior soldiers undertake a substantial education programme irrespective of their previous attainment and will progress in their functional skills, to be prepared better for employment whilst in service and beyond. In addition to its comprehensive provision of functional skills education, the Army is looking at the future provision of GCSE mathematics and English re-takes for those junior soldiers who narrowly miss the new Level 4 standard (currently A-C on the existing qualifications and credits framework), as well as other options to fulfil the academic potential of those already at the national GCSE standard.

Opportunities to resit full GCSE qualifications while in standard entry initial training for under 18s are limited as the programme is intensive. However, within their training programme individuals do undertake functional skills, a programme of learning in English, mathematics and information and communication technology at either Levels 1 or 2 as appropriate.

Following training, elective personal development opportunities are actively encouraged by the Army, including academic qualifications such as GCSEs, for which employer funding is available through the standard and enhanced learning credits schemes.