A selection of open responses to the DfE’s EBacc consultation
The DfE launched in November 2015 a consultation on its aspiration that, in time, 90% of students in the country will be entered for the EBacc. The deadline for responses to the consultation was yesterday – Friday 29th January – at 5pm. According to Tim Leunig there had been circa 1,500 responses by the evening before the deadline day – we’ve picked out a small number of those posted online.
The Ebacc is simply not appropriate for all students. We are concerned that the effect of this will be detrimental to both individuals and the country. Schools must have the autonomy to make decisions about what is an appropriate curriculum for individual students, taking into account a wide range of information and data… Read more [PDF].
Bacc for the Future
Already, from 2010 to 2015 we have seen a 14% drop in creative and technical qualifications being taken. The UK’s creative industries are world-leading in their own right, contribute more than £76 billion to the UK economy and employ more than 1.7 million (more than 1 in 20 UK jobs). To continue to build a thriving creative economy, the arts must be given equal visibility in our schools. It makes no sense for the Government to implement an educational strategy which is narrowing a skills base in an area so integral to our economy’s success… Read more.
— Bacc for the Future (@Bacc4theFuture) January 25, 2016
English and Media Centre
It has already become clear that many schools have cut provision in important subjects such as Art, Media Studies, Music and Drama in order to make room for additional Humanities and Modern Foreign Language teachers. We find this deeply worrying, particularly as these cuts are falling in schools in the state sector. This is a serious issue of social justice: students in the independent sector continue to get a rich diet of subjects linked to the creative arts and media, while those in the state sector get an increasingly limited offer… Read more.
The Edge Foundation
The 90% EBacc target is neither necessary nor desirable. It will harm, not help, large numbers of students, reduce the uptake of technical and creative subjects and limit choices open to students and their parents. It could exacerbate the country’s growing skills gap, because fewer students will achieve passes in technical and creative subjects linked to the needs of the economy… Read more.
Deborah Annetts – Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians
For many secondary schools, parental, pupil and teacher choice will be abolished. The risk, of course, is that the already wide gap between uptake of many of the arts subjects (school type, prior attainment and disadvantage are all significant factors in access to the music at GCSE for example) will become the preserve of those who can afford it… The simple fact is that the evidence behind the choice of subjects in the EBacc does not stand up to scrutiny and to undertake such a huge policy shift without evidence could utterly undermine our world beating creative industries… Read more.
Alison Critchley – Chief Executive of RSA Academies
The EBacc provides an appropriate curriculum for some pupils in English state schools, particularly those with high prior attainment and who are working towards university. It will not, however, be suitable for the 90% target stated in the consultation document. Furthermore, as SSAT’s response to the consultation clearly explains, a focus on the EBacc subjects will almost certainly reduce the range of options at Key Stage 4, and could also narrow options at Key Stage 3… Read more.
Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher)
The biggest challenge is that DFE doesn’t recognise the inherent bell-curve driven grade-setting process and has already labelled grades 1-4 as ‘bad grades’. With students embarking on a more challenging curriculum (Ebacc plus Arts), it may transpire that some cohorts of students will gain lower sets of grades in the contest for positions on the bell-curve… Read more.
Ross Morrison McGill (@TeacherToolkit) and Tristram Shepard
The ultimate factor however, will be for headteachers to reach a difficult judgement about the extent to which not entering a pupil for the EBacc subjects will lead to the school potentially being described as performing less well, while conversely increasing the overall number of good GCSE grades achieved in non-EBacc subjects… Read more.
Stephen Tierney (@LeadingLearner)
The undesirability and negative impact of imposing from Whitehall a narrow idiosyncratic curriculum on 90% of students nationwide is a significant and serious distraction from other far more important issues in education. There has been a failure to establish a coherent rationale for the imposition of the EBacc and its clash with the freedoms promised to academies risks undermining the Academy programme and questions previous statements made by Ministers… Read more.
Alex Quigley (@HuntingEnglish)
With more rigorous subject content and terminal examination requirements, having subject experts training becomes more essential. Recruiting more excellent new teachers into the system is paramount and we have little control over that. There needs to be a more coherent national focus on improving working conditions and raising the prestige of the teaching profession… Read more.
Petition – Include expressive arts subjects in the Ebacc
The English Baccalaureate, or Ebacc, is a standard which maintains that English, maths, science, a language and a humanity define a good education. The exclusion of art, music, drama and other expressive subjects is limiting, short sighted and cruel. Creativity must be at the heart of our schools… Read more.