The English Baccalaureate has really affected the League tables...

(553 Posts)
MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 11:55:03

Is anyone else finding this fascinating? I am really surprised at how few pupils at well-regarded schools in my area have done what I would consider core subjects eg
Richmond Upon Thames

The Ebacc is basically English, Maths, a science, a language & history or geography with A*-C passes. These were compulsory in my day (okay I am ancient and did O Levels). It just shows how the curriculum has changed and how schools have been slanting it recently to improve their league standings on the previous benchmark.

I suppose it depends on which criteria you use to rate them ie either the EBacc or just 5 A-C GCSEs at the end of the day but it is certainly a surprising result in some cases.

titchy Wed 12-Jan-11 12:00:19

Agree - but tbh not sure that one of history or geography shoud be a core subject. I'd rather the 'EBacc' was Maths/English/Science/MFL and one other. That would be far more intersting, and useful!

(Can you tell I didn't do history or geography O Level? grin)

titchy Wed 12-Jan-11 12:00:57

<Sits back and prepares to be slated by Humanities teachers>

MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 12:05:20

I think actually you should do both History and Geography but I am v v old-fashioned (can you tell I did both at O Level?)

MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 12:07:50

And obv. should do an arts subject such as Art/Music/Drama but maybe not compulsory.....

JoanofArgos Wed 12-Jan-11 12:12:24

what a c*nt Gove is. Introducing this retrospectively, when that cohort had no idea it would be a marker, is clearly going to rank a lot of schools lower than the traditional methods. Fair enough, now that this year's year 9 know the score, the schools can make sure they put this into place, but it's unfair to mark them on it now, and the only reason I can see is so that in five years time they can show an improvement which Gove will claim as his own. And I'm sure it's no accident that this marker makes Labour's academy schools come out worst.
C*NT.

haggis01 Wed 12-Jan-11 12:20:47

My Dc's school is sure to slip way down the rankings as a language is not compulsory. Only Fench is on the curriculum and those who want to take it at GCSE tend to do so in year 9, freeing them up for other options in year 10 and 11.

Now there will be a rush to employ language teachers again - many were let go or reassigned to other subjects and many uni depts have closed. Humanities teachers will also be stretched - many now have to teach Geog, History and RE instead of just their specialism but they too will bw in demand again - but what about the vocational course teachers etc perhaps they will be told to teach French!

willow Wed 12-Jan-11 12:41:17

Those league tables are talking rubbish. There is no way that Hampton boys only had 6% of pupils achieving passes graded between A* and C in five GCSE or equivalent qualifications, including maths and English GCSE.

MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 12:50:30

Doesn't Hampton do IGCSE? I nwhich case their results won't come up at all. Very few Independent Schools will feature on the tables. I was referring to the state schools mainly.

BeenBeta Wed 12-Jan-11 12:51:46

I dont undersyand the tables at all either.

The GCSE column marked % 5 A*-C GCSEs is a nonsense.

LondonMother Wed 12-Jan-11 12:52:25

If it results in a renaissance in language teaching and pupils taking either history or geography instead of more peripheral subjects, I'm all for it.

In our borough two schools had no pupils at all who would have got the English bacc. One of them also had the lowest GCSE pass rate and has been a very unpopular school for decades now. I hope things are turning round there now that it is in federation with a more successful school.

The other one had a big increase in its 5 A*-C pass rate some years ago, which looked impressive at first sight. When we looked round six years ago, they gave every visiting family a complete breakdown of their GCSE results (a brave move which we appreciated) and it was immediately clear that they'd achieved this by pushing their average students very hard to get them up from D to C, as most of their students had got Cs and a few had managed Bs. There were hardly any A* or A grades in any subject, particularly the ones that would feature in the English bacc. Very few pupils had taken modern languages, which could be because they didn't fancy it or could be because the school only allowed the top students to take languages, pushing the rest to do something else where they were more likely to get a C or above - most likely a combination of both.

They'd probably also entered a lot of pupils for the Foundation tier where the maximum GCSE grade available is a C, but the exam covers a lot less.

Depressing, really. No wonder there are so few pupils from some state schools going to Russell Group universities - they choose the wrong GCSE subjects and that has a knock-on effect on their A level choices and then they find they can't meet the entry criteria for the best courses.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 12-Jan-11 12:57:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LondonMother Wed 12-Jan-11 13:02:55

I'm delighted they're not looking at RE. My impression is that it's an extremely easy GCSE subject, compared to the EngBacc subjects.

LondonMother Wed 12-Jan-11 13:04:22

I'm also not bothered at all by the fact that schools didn't know this was coming. This gives us an accurate baseline. No doubt this year's Year 9s will be pushed to do EngBacc subjects now that schools know about this. But this year and next year the GCSE results will reflect the league table-driven choices that were made under Labour.

MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 13:04:49

Willow - what I'm really surprised at is schools like Christ's getting 64% for 5 GCSEs but only 10% for the EBacc. Okay, the schools didn't know this was coming and I'm not knocking them but surely it will affect how prospective parents view them and ultimately alter their curriculum?

purits Wed 12-Jan-11 13:04:52

"what a c*nt Gove is. Introducing this retrospectively, when that cohort had no idea it would be a marker"

It wasn't a marker when my DC made their choices but we chose EBacc type subjects because I wanted them to have a solid,rounded education, we didn't choose subjects to make the school league table look good! If someone was capable of an EBacc subject but didn't choose it then more fool them.

I know that a lot of schools effectively cheated in getting their benchmark '5 GCSEs', by putting children in for the 4-GCSE-equivalent in basketweaving. That is why they recently changed the benchmark to be '5 GCSE including Maths & Eng' (did you complain when Labour introduced that retrospectively BTW?). So now they are refining the criteria yet again - so what. The only complaint is that they are doing the usual thing in that they are only measuring the academic subjects. They should have an EBacc(A) for 5 GCSE in academic subjects and an EBacc(V) for 5 GCSE in Maths, Eng and 3 vocational subjects.

"the only reason I can see is so that in five years time they can show an improvement which Gove will claim as his own"

Shock horror! How dare the Tories put in something that will show an improvement.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 12-Jan-11 13:04:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EdgarAleNPie Wed 12-Jan-11 13:11:36

mrstweedy - well, when i did GCSEs the timetabling was like that - we had to choose one humanity (at least, out of sociology, hisory, geography or media studies) one MFL (either french or german) and one art (music, theatre studies) in addition to eng, maths and science.

it didn't offer Re at GCSE, which you wouldn't have thought mattered, until i went to interview for a RE PGCE and was asked why i hadn't taken it - then the guy didn't believe me when i said it wasn't on offer!

EdgarAleNPie Wed 12-Jan-11 13:13:51

actually, due to the higher percentage of grammar/ independent pupils taking RE as a subject, it is harder to get an A (being marked on a bell curve) and therefore more difficult.

gramercy Wed 12-Jan-11 13:19:21

The scandal is that anyone was doing anything other than an English Bac in the first place.

When I was at school (80s) you had to do at least one science and a foreign language, and history or geography or both.

I just don't think you can be called "academic" and progress to A Levels unless you have this basic array of subjects. After all, at GCSE they're hardly impossible. It would be quite different if you had to have, say, an A grade in all subjects, but a C should be achievable and an absolute pre-requisite if someone wants to study further.

snorkie Wed 12-Jan-11 13:19:32

I think it's a good idea. So what if it's retrospective, it's a league table device, not something an individual student needs to worry if they've achieved or not (no separate certificate for it or anything). I know the schools are bleating that they didn't know and now they've got poor scores - well so what? If they now go and do something about it then that will be brilliant.

And I don't think RE should be included unless they make the GCSE more challenging. Also, as in many schools RE is compulsory the way it is means most children will be encouraged to do 2 humanities which is even better. I think they have the balance about right - still leave choice, but ensures a good core of subjects. I had read that it covers 2 science GCSEs somewhere (so 5 subjects, but 6 GCSEs), is that right?

Kez100 Wed 12-Jan-11 13:45:17

I don't give a toss about the statistics. What I do give a toss about is:

1. Children sold Diplomas are now being shafted.

2. Children presently in year 10 and 11 will not get the EBacc if they didn't happen to pick a set of subjects which now lead to a special qualification.

3. Teachers (esp Science, MFL and Humanities)shafted with retrospective assessment

Kez100 Wed 12-Jan-11 13:46:11

Going forward I think the EBacc is good but would like it to include an Arts subject - that is all part of a good well rounded education.

MrsTweedy Wed 12-Jan-11 13:57:24

Agree re an Arts subject, not really bothered about RE (sorry EdgarAleNPie!)

Cat2405 Wed 12-Jan-11 14:20:44

I am in favour of having BOTH sets of data to make my own mind up. Some schools may be more vocationally orientated, some schools may be better at drawing out their pupils strengths etc... Of course, as long as E, M and Sc are covered I think it should be up to schools - teachers with the experience and knowledge of their pupils - to draw the best out of each individual pupil and guide them to the subjects that the pupil will do well in.

That said, I can see a big rush as secondary schools now change the way their pupils are allowed to choose their GCSE options for the future! wink

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