To re-join MN after a bit of a sabbatical to ask you to froth a bit and sign this very important education related petition

(77 Posts)
FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 21:56:57

Well, good evening, hope you're all enjoying friday night bum sex and pom bears. I'm back to froth (are any of you still here?).

Please could you sign this petition to make Gove re-think the inclusion of creative subjects in the Ebacc.

www.baccforthefuture.com

Today we were told today that our entire expressive arts department had been up for the axe, RE and PSHE has gone which is utter lunacy in our multi faith world - way to promote tolerance. We have been 'saved' but are on a much reduced timetable slot and students taking the Ebacc will only be allowed 1 choice from the extensive list of options from the rest of the subject choices, stopping many students from studying what they may actually want to study.

This is what we were expecting the reality of the Ebacc to result in, that isn't making me less angry though.

Some facts:

- The consultation on the EBacc is open until 10 December 2012

- The proposed EBacc is not fit for purpose. It will deny children a fully rounded education.

-Subjects are being withdrawn from the curriculum. The IPSOS Mori survey (2012) reported that at key stage 4, drama and performing arts had been dropped in nearly a quarter of schools, 17 per cent had withdrawn art courses and 14 per cent design technology.

-It will harm the economy - our creative industries are world-beaters - they contribute 6% of GDP, employ two million people and export over £16 billion annually.

If i've missed this being posted already i apologise, but i guess it can't hurt to try again!

Thanks all.

OpheliaPayneAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 22:03:19

Subjects are not being withdrawn from the curriculum - schools are choosing whether to offer level 4 courses dependent on uptake.

The ebac is not compulsory at KS4.

By your rationale - all tech subjects are liable to be withdrawn - this is highly unlikely - even though they are not ebac subjects.

Frankly I'd save my ire for primary schools who send pupils to secondary unable to red, write or count.

gordyslovesheep Germany Fri 23-Nov-12 22:03:29

done

OpheliaPayneAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 22:03:50

Slaps m'self @ typo

FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 22:08:14

Ophelia, I can tell you, for a fact, that the direct consequence of the Ebacc is creative subjects being taken off of the school curriculum. Our ENTIRE department was going to be completely cut from the school. Art, Graphics, Textiles, DT, Food tech, Drama and Music. Gone, not even being offered. We narrowly avoided it, other schools have gone ahead and removed them.

Ebacc is not compulsory BUT it is part of the league tables and therefore is being used as a marker to judge a school, this is leading to increased timetabled time for those subjects, thus taking away time from other subjects.

OpheliaPayneAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 22:10:04

Schools chose whether to co-opt into that marker. Blame your governors.

FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 22:10:07

Again..... 'Subjects are being withdrawn from the curriculum. The IPSOS Mori survey (2012) reported that at key stage 4, drama and performing arts had been dropped in nearly a quarter of schools, 17 per cent had withdrawn art courses and 14 per cent design technology.'

FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 22:11:00

Of course, but you are wilfully missing the point (or are you in fact Gove in disguise).

FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 22:13:33

If you read the petition then you will see that we want these subjects to be included alongside the humanities subjects, children need a fully rounded education, to be able to think independently and creatively. The EBacc is narrow and short sighted.

youngermother1 Fri 23-Nov-12 22:30:22

Ebacc only covers 5 subjects - most kids take more GCSE's, so why is the school not offering the creative ones?
This is not Ebacc, this is the school offering subjects pupils and parents want - choice is a good thing, trying to save your job in the name of 'education' is wrong

FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 22:52:19

This is what a lot of schools and more in the future are going to resort to. Pressure from OFSTED and league tables are exactly what they are judged on. Big names in the arts are talking about it and they aren't even involved in education.

Science is going to be a doubled to ensure they cover all it's bases, schools in areas like ours need to ensure they are hitting targets and are doing what they can to get the grades they need to keep OFSTED off their backs. Plus Schools are prime to be turned into an Acadamy If they aren't seen to be succeeding.

It's all adding up to subjects being cut.

youngermother1 Sat 24-Nov-12 02:27:20

yes, but these are subjects parents do not value - if they are, then the free schools will offer them and you will be happy. Accept that the majority do not have your values

OpheliaPayneAgain Sat 24-Nov-12 08:35:20

As most secondary schools have specialisms it is hardly likely that the local performing arts school is going to cut media, performing arts, music, photogtaphy, fine art is it?

Neither is the local tech specialism going to cut engineering, catering, resistant materials or electronics.

It's down to parental choice, or child choice, what options are favoured.

Schools won't run classes if there is no uptake for a subject.

Pressure from league tables - a parents folly; they demanded them, they scour them to look for performance indicators of a 'good school' with absolutely no understanding of how they are made up. If parents stopped latching onto them as the holy grail and looked at the CVA instead, they would see what a good school is, but, parents don't.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 24-Nov-12 09:28:51

Hallo there
Hope you have enjoyed your sabbatical
We have a shiny new petitions topic so we have moved your thread there
ThanksMNHQ

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 10:45:20

No, most schools do not have a specialism. Not any more, not now that they are turning Acadamy, there is no extra money for specialisms now and why should only a small proportion of children have that open to them just because they live near a school that does happen to value arts. Are you missing the whole sentence about Re and pshe going too? Broad education is being withheld from students. How can anyone see this as okay?

It's shouldn't be about values, it's about being realistic as to what the arts actually provides to society. Do you watch tv, films, wear clothes, enjoy well made things, well designed things, read magazines, read books with illustrations to you children? Why don't patents value the arts when they enjoy all of the things it brings them?

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 10:46:54

Thanks for moving the thread Olivia. I could actually cry at people's total apathy towards it though.

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 11:02:19

Lastly. How is it about choice if the students aren't even being offered certain subjects to choose from? Exp arts always has too many students per class in our school with students taking up to three ex arts subjects (which they can no longer do) so it's not about the subject not being wanted.

youngermother1 Sat 24-Nov-12 11:28:48

If it is wanted, it will be provided - that is the whole point of academies and free schools. They are not told what to do

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 11:46:06

That is a very naive view I'm afraid. Or idealistic maybe. Perhaps you should sign. Just to make sure.

youngermother1 Sat 24-Nov-12 12:18:31

Why should i sign a petition which forces schools to do something when i believe schools should have the choice to react to the wishes of the parents. The less input a school has from outside the parent body the better

5madthings Sat 24-Nov-12 12:22:58

i think.is crap, my eldest is in yr 9 so will take gcse's but my next son is in yr 6 so will be among the first to take the whole set of the new exams and i will be massively concerned if his available choice is so reduced.

will sign and share.

shall also quiz the ht of the high school he will be attending!

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 12:25:16

??? Please read the petition and the facts and figures because you ate actually missing the entire point of everything that it is about and what I have been saying. Signing the petition is about giving MORE choice. What is happening in schools has NOTHING to do with what parents and students want. It is taking away choice. Patents and students have had NO part in the decision that out particular Academy has decided. They don't even know about it yet!!!

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 12:32:09

Thanks 5madthings it's making me so cross that our children are being messed about like this.

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 12:33:22

I think it's massively important for us to know exactly what the schools/academies have planned for the next intake!

5madthings Sat 24-Nov-12 12:39:25

i am actually really concerned, especially as my ds2 is essentially a guinea pig for a whole new system that appears ill thought out and rushed through sad i have bern feeling a bit lost with it all, this petition is at least something constructive!!

arts and re etc are important, i did re and christian theology at a level, it had a big ethics component and was actually interesting and very relevant for the history and sociology degree i did.
what about politics and social policy type courses at a level? these all link in and are relevant and necessary for many careers.

arts are suffering in the current climate, cutting these subjects at school is only going to make that worse!

FontSnob Sat 24-Nov-12 12:50:23

Well PSHE has been cut from sept in our particular academy and RE too, that's the the dept, not just Gcse level, I'm not sure where the important lessons that students learn about life, tolerance and the multi faith world we live in are going to come from. It's amazingly short sighted and wrong.

For the record youngermum. Signing this petition has nothing to do with me saving my part time job as an outstanding teacher. I'm seriously considering getting out of teaching because I feel so strongly about the awful hatchet job that Gove is intent on doing. So please don't be so rude.

youngermother1 Sun 25-Nov-12 18:26:08

Don't think it was rude, perhaps should have said protecting your personal preference rather than job - The idea of free schools and academies is that governors, including parent governors, essentially choose the school curriculum, with the aim of attracting parents to send their children there. Therefore schools which offer what parents want will thrive and those that don't will fail and close.
The EBACC is essentially aimed at ensuring all schools offer what the govt think is a basic minimum, adding to this reduces the options schools can offer, not increases them. If the EBACC was, say 9 subjects, then schools could not offer anything else. This is why I am in favour of limiting the subjects included and will not sign. If parents agree with you, then they will demand these subjects and the schools will offer them and you will be happy. Where there is freedom of choice, anything included by govt dictat is essentially imposing what is not the wishes of the parents, and I am not in favour of this.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 19:18:04

Yes, I thought that was the idea of free schools, academies etc etc. the reality is very very different. I am trying to protect choice for students. Not an ideal, not my personal preference, I'm also pissed off that RE and PSHE are suffering.. No matter what you believe the truth is that parents have NO say in many schools and academies. The students have LESS choice in the subjects they want to take. Before they had 4 choices plus the core. Now they have 1 plus the ebacc subjects. Please explain how the is promoting choice? Including more subjects in the ebacc will mean a larger choice of subjects for students and will promote a more rounde education. I don't really understand how you can argue that?

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 19:19:27

It's not about wanting to have more subjects in the Ebacc, just a greater choice of subjects.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 19:24:07

Oh, and do you realise that that basic minimum that our dear Mr. Gove believes is best for our kids includes The choice of a modern or ancient languages. Yep. Latin. He feels it is more important to include Latin as a choice over say Design Technology.

Signed.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 25-Nov-12 19:31:38

If you don;t plan to increase the number of subjects in the EBacc, then which of the current subjects would you allow to be replaced with Drama, or Food Tech?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 25-Nov-12 19:32:27

My academy still has its specialism.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 19:45:56

Why is history more important as a GCSE to every child than one of the arts subjects? What about the students who want to go on to study the arts at a level? Why would history be more important to them? I also didn't say that specialisms had dissapeared completely? Do you still get extra money for your specialism or is it in name only now?

youngermother1 Sun 25-Nov-12 20:24:37

As an academic subject, Latin is far more important than DT. Agreed schools should offer more than the EBACC, but it is an academic qualification, not all, or even most, children need that. Parents have full say in the school curriculum because they take their children out if they don't like it. If no school offers what they want they start a new school - this is the whole point of the policy.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 25-Nov-12 20:54:36

The EBacc is (at the moment...) not for every child. We have an EBacc pathway, where students can still choose two optional subjects in addition to a humanity and a language (English, Maths and Science being Core subjects and therefore studied by everyone). Other students are offered a wider range of options, including vocational subjects and art/drama/DT.

So, currently, our EBacc students still study Art, or DT, or Music. Or perhaps PE if that's more their thing. And can do them at A level should they wish.

And subjects like MFL, which had a very low take up rate are (rightly IMO) now having a bit of a resurgance.

I wish Science time was being doubled. Currently we teach Science on 2 lessons a week per GCSE, which is less thant he 2.5 hours enjoyed by all other subjects except Maths, who get even more!

MooncupGoddess Sun 25-Nov-12 21:03:15

I'm slightly confused by what the petition is asking; is it asking for it to be compulsory for students to take a creative GCSE as part of the EBacc, in the same way it's compulsory to take history or geography?

If so I don't agree with it; I'm very much in favour of all students having the chance to do an arts subject or two (and they all have two or three optional choices on top of the core EBacc subjects, yes?), but I don't see why it should be compulsory.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 22:39:24

The ebacc as it stands gives you 3 compulsory options and two options. Option one is either history or geography. Option two is a language modern or ancient. What we want is for the arts to be placed within that set of choices. Why shouldn't RE be part of humanities? Or art, music and drama? That choice would open up the ebacc to being more in line with our place in the worlds economy and creative output. We are leaders in so many things like music film and arts and we should foster that alongside our sciences and languages. We should be creating creative thinkers in any field. Give students the options to take more than one arts subject so that those who want to can.

I'm not saying that this is going to happen in all schools. But the point is it should be allowed to happen in ANY school.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 23:00:24

FallenMadonna, what if the student wants to study art and pe? Or art, drama and pe? How are there needs being met. Because the pathway option has everything to do with ability and the more able kids will be pushed into the ebacc. Even if they do want to study 2 arts and one PE?

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 23:03:19

*I'm not saying that this is going to happen in all schools. But the point is it should be allowed to happen in ANY school.

That should be that it shouldn't be allowed to happen... My rant led me to sloppy typing.

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 23:05:09

And a there/their incident to apologise for.

MooncupGoddess Sun 25-Nov-12 23:07:39

Hmm, so you are saying that option one should be any one out of history, geography, RE or an arts subject - ie that it shouldn't be compulsory to do a humanity?

I'm not sure I agree with that, the humanities are pretty important IMO. (I do agree that RE should be part of the humanities list, but that's a separate point.)

FontSnob Sun 25-Nov-12 23:38:31

I can't say any more than that. If you can't see that our rich history in art, architecture, music and fashion, the things that were celebrated at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, put together by Danny Boyle. The things that the uk is great at (these are the people who are supporting the petition.), Shakespeare wrote plays that still are acted with costumes and told through music. If ypu and other people dont believe that those things are as important as our political history or the history of our wars, then I don't know what else to say.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 00:46:45

I can't sleep for thinking about this. Visiting the British Museum in London you will see exactly what I'm talking about. In every exhibit in there you will see art. From every time period in every country. From ancient Egypt to an exhibition by Grayson Perry. How can you not see that as equal in importance to the rest of our history????

Bride1 Mon 26-Nov-12 01:01:46

Gove isn't saying pupils can't take creative subjects. That is your school's response. Their issue, not his. Latin is a very valued academic subject. I am glad both my children are taking it. My daughter also chose drama. So what is the problem? She has her Ebac and the creative subjects.

youngermother1 Mon 26-Nov-12 01:09:12

The Ebacc covers 5 subjects (depending on how you define science). Most pupils take 9+ subjects. How is EBACC limiting their choice?

brdgrl Mon 26-Nov-12 01:16:46

You are right of course, fontsnob. Signed.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 16:46:01

No Bride Gove is not saying not to teach them, he is however saying that by 2014 all schools/acadamies will be judged by the Ebacc results. But as a result of all of the things that he is NOT saying (did you know, in his white paper, music was the only creative subject mentioned and then only 3 times - says something of the way he values the arts) Schools (not just ours 17% of them across the UK have dropped art alone) are tightening their curriculum and taking away choice.

Thats great that your children get to study Latin, great that they have the choice to study what they want. I am not in anyway saying don't include it... i'm saying, don't give it more importance than other, vocational subjects. Don't close down kids pathways to careers in the arts (and all the other subjects that are being sidelined, business studies and ICT too for e.g.). Don't turn the arts into a career for the middle and upper classes only, because that is going to be another consequence of what is happening.

Don't believe that Gove has the best ideas for education and take his word for everything, don't just believe that because it isn't happening in your area then you're alright.

This should NOT be alowed to happen ANYWHERE, in any school.

Make the Ebacc comprehensive, wide of choice (for all), make it something that makes us stand out from the rest of the world, that makes good and positive changes for education. Don't make it another set of statistics to flog schools with and make them put all of their teaching time into a few core subjects that don't cater to the needs of the many. You need to see the reality, not argue the uninformed arguement 'well...Gove say's"

youngermum some schools (as ours plans to) are giving timetable time to the ebacc subjects above what they get now, thus actually cutting down the amount of time in the timetable avaliable. Keep in mind also that students aren't also being made to choose only 1 subject from the arts but that choice also includes, pe, business studies, ICT. So a student who wanted to go into business at uni level couldnt choose bus studies and ICT for eg.

Again, I am not saying it is all schools, but to see it as a problem in only a couple is very wrong and very naive and this is only the start.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 16:48:27

bride you also need to see things beyond how great your daughters choices were. That isn't going to be the case for every child in the UK and more people should be pissed off about that. The 'i'm alright jack' attitude has to shift (what would she have done if she wanted to study art and Graphics alongside drama?).

Abra1d Mon 26-Nov-12 18:45:08

She would have been able to.

The problem seems to lie with the school, not the curriculum. Schools have, what, four or five additional subject choices to fill and if they're not providing subjects parents and children want, then that's for the parents and children to make a fuss.

Or they need to organize themselves with other schools in the area and offer options in a different site.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 19:15:17

Obviously there is something wrong with our schools decision to go down that path. That's obvious and being fought by us within the school. What is the point in being so blinkered that you can just pass it off in that way, not realising that it is going to continur to happen, has happened and is happening in other schools too. The point of the whole argument is that IT SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. That's what the petition is about.

youngermother1 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:51:31

who should stop it - parents. Remove your child from the school to a school which offers what you want or start your own - simples

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 21:04:25

Yeah. Simple. In the world of cuckoo's and fluffy clouds.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 21:06:35

Get your head out of th sand and realise that a vast majority of the population don't have that option. But hey, you're alright Jack.

PieEyedAndLairy Mon 26-Nov-12 23:03:01

Signed.

youngermother1 Wed 28-Nov-12 00:47:11

Support the free school initiative and everyone will have the option. I am in no better position than any other parent in the country.

FontSnob Wed 28-Nov-12 18:04:40

That's your answer is it? It's nice that you're so idealistic and believe in everything the govt is telling you. It must be so easy to just start up a new school because Gove says so. The Ebacc doesn't limit choice, because Gove says so. I have no more to debate with you because your blinkers are firmly in place.

I genuinely hope that your own children are never effected by the damage that is being done to education in the name of progress, I hope that they and all of our children are given the choices that they deserve in the school that they enjoy, taught by teachers who care as much as I and my colleagues do about their subject.

youngermother1 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:21:56

My blinkers are firmly in place - you have not responded to my comment that most children do 8+ GCSE's. This means that there are at least 2 not in Ebacc - that's where the arts come in

youngermother1 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:22:18

sorry missing ironic question mark after in place

MuddleJugs Thu 29-Nov-12 19:39:02

Had already signed, but would again if I could.

FontSnob Thu 29-Nov-12 22:46:15

Yes I did younger but to save you having to go back through the posts... there is only a finite amount of time in a school week. Extra time is being to the Ebacc subjects leaving room for only one extra choice. This is to ensure good performance in the league tables. This will not happen in every school, it is not good enough that it is happening anywhere however.

I'm not sure if you think I'm making it all up or spinning a tale but you seem dogged in your quest to prove me (and the other experts... including a very good speech given by Danny Boyle) wrong. Whatever your reasons are, they are yours. You aren't going to sign and that's your choice but if you're trying to win an argument or prove me wrong then really don't bother. The facts are the facts, this is happening.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 00:35:13

I am trying to understand - are you saying all (most?) schools are going to offer only:
maths
english
science
history/geography
language
other

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:46:14

Not all and hopefully not most, but yes, that is what is happening in some schools (I have assumed that the 'other' at the end of the list refers to their final choice) and that is what is happening in our school for the Ebacc students, which is about 60% of them (ish, not sure of actual total). So, a student who wants to be, let's say, a graphic designer will not be able to take graphics and art together. Or if a student wante to go into business, they wouldn't be able to take business and ICT together.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:52:27

So in 2012, Gove has stated that learning Latin is more important than learning ICT. He is placing academic subjects above vocational ones in terms of his heirachy of importance. In our school for eg the proportion of 6th formers going on to study one of the 'optional' subjects at Uni is far higher than those opting to study history or geography. There is also a better progression rate into from the vocational based degrees. I am in no way arguing that the three core should be changed in any way btw and I'm also personally in favour of a moder foreign language being in there too.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:55:47

"There is also a better progression rate into from the vocational based degrees." sorry that should have continued "into relevant jobs than from history or gepgraphy'. Again, I'm not saying these subjects are not important, just not more important.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 01:04:45

To clarify, that is from our schools own data on progression routes.

Startail Fri 30-Nov-12 01:07:36

Art, music and drama are important.

Most DCs would jump for joy if they never had to do another RE or PHSE lesson.

They ought to be worth while subjects, but they frequently aren't.
The kids treat PHSE as a joke and so do the parents as it generates primary make a poster style home work.

DD did a long chunk on bullying, she said it was "really lovely" spending an hour a week dwelling on how she is treated every day of her life.

Well taught A level RE is a popular choice, but forcing younger DCs to do RE against their will does not and has never worked. My school gave up 30+ years ago.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 01:22:00

As far as i am aware, the Ebacc is an academic route aimed at children going to university - in my head should be the most academic 20-30%.
This was introduced to prevent schools gaming the league tables.
Other subjects are equally important to the country, but are less academic and more practical.
Working for a large manufacturing company, we would prefer many more people who come to us at 16 and learn on the job. Most vocational degrees are rubbish compared to 3 years practical experience.
Also, if you want to do 'business', business courses are frankly the largest waste of time

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 09:22:18

startail I agree that badly taught re/pshe has no place I also agree that it needs an overhaul in some way, I'm not sure the answer to that but I do think that students need to be taught the fundamental ideas of tolerance and understanding of different faiths, by getting rid of both I don't know where that is going to come from.

youngermother how will students know what they want to do if they have never had any experience of anything other than the core subjects? In terms of the arts, which is what i am fighting for specifically, If you want to go into the arts, design or anything in that field then you do need to have studied art and design at gcse and a level so those options need to be open to those students at all levels.

The ideal of the Ebacc and the reality are very different, if the case was as you have it in your head then great, but the fact is that it is part of the league tables and is becoming yet another stick to beat schools with. It is not being 'offered' to the top 20-30% it is being forced as a pathway to the majority of students. It is also sending a very loud message that the arts are not important (despite their importance for our economy).

m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/02/britain-creative-edge-is-at-risk. Hopefully the link will work but I'm on my mobile so I apologise if not. It says what I am trying to say about the arts in a much more concise way.

TuftyFinch Fri 30-Nov-12 09:46:04

The link won't let me sign in my phone but as soon as I wind up the lap top I will sign and share on Facebook.
I left teaching this year because ... well, in short because of Michael Gove and his army of managers that want to turn education into a business. It's not about students or choice or enjoyment. Just targets.
Creativity is being stifled and de- valued. Gove can't see the worth in art based subjects so let's just get rid of them. He's a visionless prat.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 11:59:24

Ah tufty that's pants, I am seriously considering my own future in education too. He is by far the worse thing that has happened to education on so many levels. I was reading an awful article in the Independent about the new and pointless phonics tests and the awful decisions that it was leading teachers to make. I'm all for raising standards and am under no illusions that change needs to happen, but not in any of the ways that it is sad

FontSnob Wed 05-Dec-12 21:00:55

"Michael Gove has been urged to rethink his plan to replace GCSEs with the English baccalaureate amid concerns that his aims for the new qualification may not be “realistically achievable”.
Glenys Stacey, who heads England’s exams regulator, Ofqual, told the Education Secretary that EBaccs may result in “limited” teaching motivated to increase pass rates in league tables.
In a letter to Mr Gove published today, Ms Stacey also said that there were “no precedents” to provide confidence that a single qualification could instil in pupils all the abilities required for working life or future study, while also allowing standards in schools to be judged fairly.
The letter was released just hours after Mr Gove refused to give details of what it said while appearing before the Commons education select committee. His refusal to disclose its contents was described as ‘unacceptable by Committee chairman Graham Stuart”.
Ebaccs are due to be taught from 2015, with the first exams in 2017."

youngermother1 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:27:37

The EBacc is not a single qualification - it is not a qualification at all, but a measure that a pupil in a school has completed 5 academic rigorous GCSE's in a limited amount of subjects.
You were all for the EBacc if it included arts and the IB is the ebacc with arts, is only 1 qualification and is certainly a precedent.
With the IB, fail one area, get no qualification - follow the EBacc route and the child gets 4, only the school does not get a 'measure'

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:36:29

I'm sorry younger you seem to be arguing with the head of ofqual here as none of those are my words. Just presenting a wider view of the Ebacc from a perspective outside of the arts.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:49:41

Oh and the international baccalaureate is nothing like the Ebacc so I suggest you do a little more research.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:58:53

By RICHARD GARNER
Thursday 27 September 2012
"We're talking about an international exam which is the best in the world," says the speaker as we discuss what will happen now that the GCSE appears to be in terminal decline. "Why are we not bringing it in?"
The speaker is Dr Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College. The examination in question is the International Baccalaureate (IB) and its Middle Years Programme (MYP), which enables 13- to 16-year-olds at Wellington College to prepare themselves for the full IB.
The question is in part rhetorical. The answer is that it would take a revolution in the approach to teaching, with teachers being given much more freedom to devise their own assessments rather than to stick rigidly to a formula to cover the various units that go towards making up a full GCSE course.
So far, only a handful of pioneers have adopted the IB's Middle Years Programme (MYP) – 11 schools in the UK including two state schools, Dartford Grammar School for Boys in Kent and the Hockerill Anglo-European College in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. Both use its approach to learning but still put pupils in for GCSEs,
But there is an opening for it now with the announcement that the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is seeking to replace GCSEs with his own English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in the core subjects from 2015 – with the first students sitting exams in the new "rigorous" papers in 2017.
They are two very different animals: the MYP offers a far broader curriculum of studying eight subject areas –English, maths, science, a language, the humanities, art, technology and PE. In the final year, pupils do a special project – writing up their own research into a particular topic.
The EBacc, meanwhile, is still in its infancy, but so far would only cover the core areas of English, maths, science, languages and the humanities – history or geography. What will happen to the other subject areas is still unclear and has led to critics claiming it will provide too narrow a diet for pupils and leave many who cannot aspire to top-grade passes in the core areas without any qualifications at all.
Fears have also been expressed that – in addition to sounding the death-knell for GCSEs – it could spell disaster for art and music and technology, with these subjects being left on the sidelines.
What will also be of interest, though, is what will happen in the interim years. Dr Seldon was far more colourful in his description of the future for GCSEs than just saying they were due for replacement. He said they had been "smashed to smithereens" by Mr Gove's announcement .
"Dumbed down", "not fit for purpose" and engaged in a "race for the bottom" as competing exam boards vie for custom are just some of the more colourful phrases used by Mr Gove to describe GCSEs in the past couple of weeks. Indeed, many heads are predicting a growing number of schools will abandon them before their time – resorting to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) perhaps (built along the lines of O-levels with an emphasis on end-of-course tests and thus considered better preparation for the more rigorous EBacc).
According to Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, heads may well see it as attractive because it is not subject to any political interference and thus will remain constant in its format. In addition, Mr Gove has urged all schools to consider adopting it in the run-up to the EBacc as a better preparation for the new qualification.
The same, though, can also be said of the MYP (and, of course, the IB itself, which has been in operation for 45 years and seen no grade inflation during that period).
One of the criticisms of it is there is no external assessment – the assessment is carried out internally and moderated externally with samples of pupils' work chosen for inspection. However, all this may be changing soon as the IB is embarking on a review of how it operates.
Dr David Jones, head of IB at Wellington College, is enthusiastic about the impact the adoption of the MYP has had on pupils' learning. At present, about 40 per cent of pupils do it while the remaining 60 per cent stick with GCSEs.
"It is almost like a third way in its approach," he says. "It is an independent organisation outside the control of Whitehall. We can provide courses that are suited to the needs of our students."
Dr Seldon gives an example of teaching about Battle of the Somme in history to illustrate the difference in approach to teaching through the MYP. "You tell them, 'if the Germans had this and the British had this, what do you think would happen?'" he says. "You let them work it out for themselves."
Pupils are enthusiastic about the new approach. Frankie Dale, 16 – who is in the lower sixth and is now studying the full IB course, says her parents had believed the baccalaureate approach would put her in better stead for gaining a university place in the United States. "They sent me to Wellington College because it was co-educational and they wanted me to do the IB," she says. "It was more difficult. It definitely pushed you more."
Both Dr Seldon and Dr James say they have noticed that their MYP students show more confidence and are possibly more inquisitive.
Millie Lloyd-Wlliams, who is in the last year of the MYP programme, adds: "I used to do French GCSE and it was more structured. With the MYP you learn more about France and French culture."
Dr James compares it with a more "Gradgrind approach" in the GCSE and adds: "I would expect the number taking it to increase from 2014 because they'll be offering [externally marked] exams from then, with the teachers devising their programmes, you can in fact look at history and think which are the more interesting periods to study than the Henrys and Hitler."
The question, of course, poses itself as to how this will fit in with – Gove's proposed new EBacc – which will involve English, maths and science from 2015. "I think he's about two-thirds right about the EBacc," says Dr Seldon, "He's absolutely right about depth and stretch and challenge and scholarship and not patronising students, Two things he has to address, though. The exam needs to be based much more on active thinking rather than passive memory. The classroom has to be seen much more as a laboratory of the mind rather than a factory shop floor in its approach.
"Also, in the most successful countries such as Singapore, they have a proven commitment to character education, holistic education and leadership education and Michael has to talk about this in its wider sense rather than making you feel you just get the exams job done."
It is a criticism that is echoing around the education fringe meetings at the Liberal Democrats' conference this week. A sense appears to be emerging that the price of their support will be the turning of the EBacc into something offering a much broader approach to education.
If it does not happen, one could see trouble ahead and a delay in implementation with both parties (and Labour) battling it out their vision of education in the 2015 general election.
By that time, though, more head teachers may come round to the idea that they would be best served by putting their eggs in a non-political basket when it comes to education and the MYP and the IGCSE could flourish.

Again, not my words, but very interesting and balanced.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 10:34:01

In case you don't feel like reading the whole article

"They are two very different animals: the MYP offers a far broader curriculum of studying eight subject areas –English, maths, science, a language, the humanities, art, technology and PE. In the final year, pupils do a special project – writing up their own research into a particular topic.
The EBacc, meanwhile, is still in its infancy, but so far would only cover the core areas of English, maths, science, languages and the humanities – history or geography. What will happen to the other subject areas is still unclear and has led to critics claiming it will provide too narrow a diet for pupils and leave many who cannot aspire to top-grade passes in the core areas without any qualifications at all.
Fears have also been expressed that – in addition to sounding the death-knell for GCSEs – it could spell disaster for art and music and technology, with these subjects being left on the sidelines."

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