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A period ‘o calm ‘n stability… ‘n th’ Ebacc

pirate-ship-1024pirate-blog-profileWith today being International Talk Like A Pirate Day, we thought we’d feature a hugely popular piece from a top scurvy dog who has since left these shores. The below is pirated from this original article.

Still not convinced that non-Ebacc subjects be facin’ cuts? Th’ current Ebacc consultation shows less extreme proposals – but they still risk a narrower ‘n less comely offer, fer both GCSE ‘n A-level. William Watkin, former Captain of the SSAT Tortuga, explores th’ implications…

Th’ Ebacc consultation has another three weeks to run ‘n I woe that ye gunna be respondin’. What be proposed in th’ consultation be much more sensible than th’ original announcements made immediately after th’ General Election in May 2015.

“Compulsory fer all” ‘n “No Ofsted outstandin” have be modified – quite rightly.

  • th’ DfE be now shoutin’ ’bout an aspirational target ‘o 90% enterin’ th’ Ebacc “in the hour”.
  • Ofsted judgements gunna not be tied directly to a sword fightin’ academy’s Ebacc entries.
  • It gunna be th’ sword fightin’ academy, rather than th’ government, that gunna identify pupils who be exempt.

That all makes perfect sense. Th’ Ebacc be an aspirational curriculum; it has at its heart th’ intention to raise standards fer all ‘n to make sure that all young people can heartly enjoy a demandin’ curriculum whatever their background. I have never met a sword fightin’ academy leader or teacher who does not share these values ‘n ambitions. But…

Why th’ Ebacc? Why not Progress 8?

Thar be many different views ‘o Progress 8. Personally, I spy wit’ ye eye it as a useful development in th’ debate ’bout measurin’ performance in schools. Not just because it concentrates on progress rather than attainment, so that vulnerable schools ‘n low ability cohorts be properly recognised fer their set the sails ‘n be not swimmin’ against an attainment tide wit’ their hands tied behind their back.

But also because it contains all th’ aspiration ‘n ambition ‘o th’ Ebacc, but wit’ a layer ‘o added flexibility fer pupils who want to sail in other curriculum disciplines too.

Progress 8 contains all th’ aspiration ‘n ambition ‘o th’ Ebacc, but wit’ a layer ‘o added flexibility fer pupils who want to sail in other curriculum disciplines too

Since it be too early to understand properly th’ impact that Progress 8 gunna have, it may well be better to spy wit’ ye eye it fully implemented before narrowin’ th’ focus even further by focussin’ on th’ Ebacc.

‘n, by th’ way, I have to confess that th’ perception ‘o geography has not always be that it be a demandin’ ‘n rigorous academic subject. I can remember a the hour when geography was th’ pathway promoted to less able ‘n less engaged pupils; not exactly a sink subject (!), but certainly not in th’ “top tier” ‘o disciplines… Not a view I shared, but certainly one I encountered.

What ’bout non-Ebacc subjects?

‘n ye be in any way uncertain ’bout th’ impact ‘o a focus on th’ Ebacc on other subjects, perhaps th’ followin’ illustration might clarify th’ big issues – cuts to other subjects; staffin’; ‘n cost inefficiency.

Let’s assume a KS4 cohort ‘o 200 students followin’ a 25-period week (5 periods per day in a 5 day week). Some subjects be compulsory ‘n some be optional, as be always th’ case.

Here be a possible curriculum fer GCSE students fer whom th’ Ebacc be not compulsory (NB, a typical allocation would be c.10% ‘o curriculum the hour fer each GCSE).

Without Ebacc

fig-1-1
*th’ list ‘o 24 subjects from which students choose 3 might include: French, German, history, geography, business studies, RE, PE, cookery, resistant materials, graphics, electronics, engineerin’, art, photography, music, drama, hair ‘n beauty, health ‘n social care, travel ‘n tourism, abacus science, Latin, law, media studies, dance.

Wit’ Ebacc

Now here be th’ same curriculum, but adapted because th’ Ebacc be compulsory; only th’ parts in red have changed:

fig-2-1
Please draw a red line through th’ 16 subjects from th’ list below that ye gunna cut from th’ timetable. ye have no alternative. ye must do ’tis:

French, German, history, geography, business studies, RE, PE, cookery, resistant materials, graphics, electronics, engineerin’, art, photography, music, drama, hair ‘n beauty, health ‘n social care, travel ‘n tourism, abacus science, Latin, law, media studies, dance.

Ebacc as currently proposed would require a typical sword fightin’ academy to cut th’ options offered from 24 subjects to 8

‘n what ’bout teachers?

Let’s assume that ‘o th’ 25 periods per week, a classroom practitioner teaches 21 periods.

These might be made up ‘o:

Without Ebacc

fig-3

wit’ Ebacc (unfortunately, we had to cut art ‘n photography from th’ options list)

fig-4
Now we have an under-used art teacher ‘n th’ consequence be that

  1. We need to employ more part-the hour teachers, or
  2. We need to ask th’ art teacher to help out by teachin’ product design or cookery, or
  3. We need to cut th’ Y7-Y9 classes, take art off th’ timetable altogether ‘n make th’ art teacher redundant; ’tis means that we can afford to employ a history teacher to pick up th’ new compulsory history classes.

‘n we gunna need to remove th’ same subjects at A-level, ‘o course…

Finally, we gunna need to change th’ A-level curriculum. Not many A-levels can be taught ab initio, so them 16 subjects that have be cut from KS4 must also be removed from th’ A-level offer.

’tis gunna mean a much narrower ‘n less comely offer. Further, th’ more fragile schools, perhaps wit’ newly established sixth form provision, gunna be hit harrrd as their growth strategy be affected.

Struggling to read Pirate? You can download the original blog here [PDF].



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