Schools reject EBacc

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Many head teachers across England will refuse to make all pupils study five traditional GCSE subjects according to a director of a prominent education body.  This is due to many head teachers feeling that the EBacc is not appropriate for all youngsters in education.

This news comes after the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan confirmed that all pupils would have to study the EBacc from September, meaning all pupils starting secondary school will have to study English, a language, Maths, Science and History or Geography. This will be done by the government in belief that to develop a more socially mobile society, schools must secure highest standards of academic achievement for all young people, especially those from the least advantaged backgrounds.

The Education Secretary threatened that any school that doesn’t have 100% pupils studying the EBacc will not be able to obtain Ofsted’s top rating of ‘outstanding’. This however has not deterred leaders who have told Mrs Morgan that they would rather lose their top status that adopt a one size fits all approach. The NUT general secretary Christine Blower said “a bad idea has suddenly become much worse. Parents, like teachers, want a broad and balanced curriculum for their children”. Christine Blower continued to say that it is the responsibility of the government to translate that aspiration into a curriculum that can involve and engage all learners.

Bill Watkin, operational director of the school support and training body SSAT, believes there is a danger that other options like the arts, technology, physical education and religious studies would be lost to accommodate compulsory history and geography. But by removing creative subjects what will happen to students who work better this way? Does the EBacc allow for creativity to blossom? Are headteachers right in rejecting these imposed rules? What do you think? Have your say…

6 thoughts on “Schools reject EBacc

  1. I think able pupils should be made to study the Ebacc subjects from Y7 and should be made to study them up to GCSE level, but it must be clearly explained to them why they have to study these subjects and how it will help them gain a place in University for example, as top Universities favour those subjects. I also think these pupils should also have to chose to study at least one other subject as well though (arts, technology, PE, EPA). However I agree with the headteachers that the EBACC is not suitable for all of our pupils and shouldn’t be forced on them. Yes allow them to study these subjects at KS3 as well as creative subjects but definately don’t force them to study them up to GCSE level when other courses or qualifications would be more suited to them.

  2. Completely agree with Ofsted’ s plan to make 5 subjects compulsory.Creative subjects are not removed.They could be chosen as non-compulsory.

  3. Hmmm. English and Maths should definitely be compulsory, I think. A modern language is a complete waste of time unless the student actually wants to learn it. History and geography are worthy subjects, but so are art, music, and drama – in fact the longer I work as a teacher, the more vital I feel art, music and drama are for all children.

    It’s like this. You can spent a term teaching fractions to seven year olds, or you can teach it in an hour to fifteen year olds. Is it really the best use of their learning to devote so much time to maths, when they could be learning creativity, cooperation, team-work and imagination through music, art and drama?

    History, geography, languages, science… these can always be learned at a later date. Learning shouldn’t stop when you’re sixteen – but it will if we teach children to hate it. We need to be more flexible about “milestones”, stop obsessing over age-related targets, promote life-long learning, and refrain from making kids feel like they’ve failed in life if they can’t pass their Maths GCSE when they’re sixteen. Some brains just aren’t ready. And some of the cleverest, most successful people I know did badly at school, because they were rushed through the curriculum at a pace they weren’t suited to.

  4. Spot on Wanda. If only those at the DFES had the intelligence to realise it. How far have we progressed since the attitudes that Dickens portrays at the start of Hard Times in 1854? It sometimes seems like we are going backwards.

  5. I have to disagree that teaching languages is a complete waste of time if students are not interested. Surely as teachers it is our job to engage students with the subject and language learning has many benefits in our global society. Practically it can aid communication across nations but more widely it teaches a greater understanding and appreciation of other peoples, their values and beliefs, thus aiding critical thinking skills, crucial for our students future lives.

    I do agree that Maths and English should be compulsory subjects, we use them on a daily basis and so a good level of achievement is highly desirable.
    However, I also think that teaching the arts is vital so that students enjoy a more rounded education and see that life offers more than just ‘academic’ study.

  6. I completely agree , which I would not have done before joining the profession 3 years ago at the age of 48. reflecting on my own volte face I believe we need to teach parents, employers as well as politicians what is best, especially for the slower developers and show that life long learning is the key. I am a mathematician and at school hated French lessons.But I went on school trip skiing when in 6th form I have come to realise the importance of languages to myself and have learnt it as I have come to love the country. Anything can be learnt at any point at life if we are inspired to do so. It is teaching this that is our most important lesson.

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