What are peoples thoughts on the English Baccalaureate ??

(205 Posts)

I know what I think, but i'm wondering if i'm alone in my thoughts.

So, any opinions ?

MsAverage Thu 22-Nov-12 08:09:29

Just try and get a job in IT now in London. You would be really hard pushed to get an entry level position as a Graduate as there are thousands of other nationalities willing to do those jobs for half the money.

Well, the reality is exactly the opposite. My company is trying to hire developers for some time - at the moment we have 5 positions to fill in (do you know anyone with Ruby on rails? Drop me a message, please). "Thousands of nationalities ready to work for peanuts" fall into two categories - either they non-EU and have no right to work in the UK, or they are EU and have the same salary requirements as locals.

ReallyTired Thu 22-Nov-12 09:44:58

"Ebac discriminates so much against anyone with dyslexia or anyone who struggles with a foreign language such as someone with a speach defect or anyone who is deaf."

Sadly exams do discrimate against people. It is a cruel world. Prehaps BSL level 2 should count as a foreign language for the EBac. I don't think the EBac is perfect. I would like a greater choice as to what counts as a humanity. Children need to think at a far higher level than in the past.

I think the difference between signapore, India and China is that they don't make excuses. They push their children very hard because they know that specific learning difficulties can be over come by sheer hard work. They have a growth mindset and believe that anything is possible with hard work. They are less obcessed by innate ablity than we are.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Nov-12 10:36:36

I think the main difference in India etc is that the parents push the kids far harder to get a good education. There is a culture where education is valued. Here everything is put on schools and teachers and yet schools and teachers aren't respected.

crazymum53 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:32:12

There are problems with the current EBacc as there are other humanities other than History or Geography such as Religious Studies or Economics which should be included. If you look at the options for the IB which is equivalent to a level then there is a much greater choice for the humanities option. Also if students with an aptitude for languages study 2 MFL e.g. German and French but not History or Geography then they don't get an EBacc qualification either.

It isn't just hard work that makes students results from countries such as Singapore and China look impressive but their system of learning. They are very good at learning by rote and can often memorise large amounts of information accurately. But ask them to apply that knowledge and think for themselves and they cannot do this. Have found this from experience of working with overseas students from these countries doing UK A levels.

crazymum53 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:32:35

There are problems with the current EBacc as there are other humanities other than History or Geography such as Religious Studies or Economics which should be included. If you look at the options for the IB which is equivalent to a level then there is a much greater choice for the humanities option. Also if students with an aptitude for languages study 2 MFL e.g. German and French but not History or Geography then they don't get an EBacc qualification either.

It isn't just hard work that makes students results from countries such as Singapore and China look impressive but their system of learning. They are very good at learning by rote and can often memorise large amounts of information accurately. But ask them to apply that knowledge and think for themselves and they cannot do this. Have found this from experience of working with overseas students from these countries doing UK A levels.

confusedperson Thu 22-Nov-12 11:41:24

I love the idea of EBacc. Everyone should have good background of those core subjects. Nobody is saying you cannot study other subjects, but I really think by Ebacc we are only moving (up) closer to the world standard.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:42:50

What "world standard" is that?

chloe74 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:46:33

Its all very well being able to apply knowledge but you have to have knowledge first. Teaching the five core areas should help thoroughly learn that knowledge so they will then be able to practice applying it.

I don't think we have a system where schools push children to the levels they do in other countries. A lot of time at school seems to be wasted on 'fringe' areas and getting low attaining children through exams so we can pretend they have succeeded. The new system is voluntary so less academic students will still be able to learn subjects more appropriate to them to a higher level. And more students will finally have a chance to excel.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Nov-12 11:54:16

What do you mean, Chloe, the new system is voluntary? Education will still be compulsory.

Time wasted on getting low attaining students qualifications? I'm sure you didn't mean that writing them off completely and concentrating on the bright kids is a good idea, but it certainly sounded like it.

Decemberinthesun Thu 22-Nov-12 12:02:32

I think that is changing TBH crazy mum. I have lived in Singapore twice and the place is completely different from 10 years ago. The government are really trying to change the way their children learn. Also things like you would never find Singaporeans doing sports and going out much socially. 10 years later they are all into marathons and triathlons and the club and bar scene has really taken off. Fast forward 20 years, when my children will be in their early careers and I doubt very much we will still be saying that these people are academic but cannot think outside the box. My children are in the IB system. When I come back to the UK I will look for and hopefully find a school that gives both A Level and IB as an option in 6th form and my children can choose which is best based on their strengths.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:28:19

How does the IB prepare people for applied engineering degrees (the ones who are doing Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A level) ?

Other countries may be dominant in manufacturing, but the top design engineers in most fields around the world are British
our system may have its faults but is very good at turning out analytical thinkers

hoodoo12345 Thu 22-Nov-12 12:43:52

Very concerned how this is going to affect the future of my DD, the UK's year 7's are a huge bunch of guinea pigs.
It stinksangry

ReallyTired Thu 22-Nov-12 12:54:22

"It isn't just hard work that makes students results from countries such as Singapore and China look impressive but their system of learning. They are very good at learning by rote and can often memorise large amounts of information accurately. But ask them to apply that knowledge and think for themselves and they cannot do this. Have found this from experience of working with overseas students from these countries doing UK A levels. "

That is anedotal. There are lots of indian software developers who certainly are creative and can think for themselves. I think the accusation that Chinese, Indian, (or any other Asian country) people cannot think creatively is a mixture of jelously and racism.

For many years the UK curriculum has been far too content light. Many GCSE science exams have been more like English comprehension than learning difficult science. Mathematical equations have been removed from Physics exams and questions have become descriptive. There has to be balance between developing skills and learning facts.

English education is going to have a difficult period as no one know quite what is planned. However reform of the national curriuclum is desperately over due.

chloe74 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:04:51

I don't see how any children will be used as guinea pigs, they will get a better education than the year group before them and whilst the exams will be new everyone in the country will be in the same boat so they will still have equal access to university.

What would be terrible for Y7 is if they still did the waste of space GCSE we currently have.

crazymum53 Thu 22-Nov-12 15:17:49

The IB involves taking more subjects beyond GCSE and students have to study Maths and at least one Science subject (often 2 or more). 5 or 6 subjects altogether. There is also an additional Maths option so yes IB students can still take engineering, but as they have an MFL as well they may be better equipped to work in an international market place.

My earlier comments are not anecdotal they are based on real life experience of teaching these students straight after their O levels. O levels themselves are more content heavy and memory based than GCSEs is the main point that I am trying to make rather than comments about people of a specific nationality.

prettybird Thu 22-Nov-12 15:58:20

Just being pedantic - but it is not the UK's Y7s.

Scotland has a totally different education system. Having said that, the revamping that the 3-18 Curriculum for Excellence has brought in means that we don't really know the exams our kids will be taking as they're making it up as they go along! hmm The current S3s (=Y9s) started S1 (Y7) not knowing what exams or the structure they would taken in S4 when Standard grades were to be replaced.

ReallyTired Thu 22-Nov-12 16:58:31

"My earlier comments are not anecdotal they are based on real life experience of teaching these students straight after their O levels. O levels themselves are more content heavy and memory based than GCSEs is the main point that I am trying to make rather than comments about people of a specific nationality. "

It is scary that you don't realise you are making an anedote and you are a teacher.

What proper research evidence other than the experience of one teacher do you have that Chinese, Singapore or Indian lack the ablity to apply knowledge and think for themselves? Plenty of English people also lack the ablity to think for themselves as well.

As far as I know there is no research to compare the problem solving skills of various sixteen year olds around the world. I doult that British teens are that brilliant at thinking skills otherwise we would not have so many NEETS.

chloe74 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:17:40

Why do children need to know what sort of exam they will be doing. Teach them properly and they will be able to deal with any questions (to the level of their ability). The only reason to know the exact format of the paper etc is so that you can teach to the test ... Something we want to get rid of.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:19:35

Chloe74
to the level of their ability
have you ever been to a non selective state school?
Do you know how UNBELIEVABLY HARD that single item is to ascertain.

noblegiraffe Thu 22-Nov-12 20:43:12

Teach them what, properly? If you don't know what the exam is, then you won't have a specification and you'll have no idea whether to teach them Hitler or the Romans. And I don't expect that schools will be finding out till the last minute either, so any schemes of work will be rushed through, resources scarce and teachers harassed.

GCSEs were thoroughly tested and piloted before they were unleashed on the general population. Gove doesn't think that his new exams even need a test sitting to iron out any problems before they are used to determine the future of thousands of children.

And Chloe, suggesting that it doesn't matter being in the first cohort because they will all have equal access to university is ridiculously short-sighted. Exams at 16 are for everyone, not just for those going onto university in a particular year. When those children are applying for jobs in ten years' time, do you think they can put on ther CV 'excuse the shit grades in Maths and English, that was due to the EBC debacle, I'm better than they look, honest.' while those who are younger have better grades simply because the system has had time to bed down?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:49:44

Or as DH says when schools book him
You may have taught year 4 lots of times
but each child gets only one shot at it.

HOW DARE Gove bugger up the chances of a whole cohort of children with no empirical evidence to support his whims.

MsAverage Thu 22-Nov-12 20:50:52

you guys have NO idea about the two thirds of society

I am not convinced that Gove's plans are going to serve the bottom end well

In my borough, where my child goes to a comprehensive school with exam stats below national average, 40% of children are from families where nobody works. Ok, I am living not in best place. In the scale of the country it is 18% of working-age households where nobody works.

So, my question is - do we need to tailor the educational system to people who will not work or to people who will?

MsAverage Thu 22-Nov-12 20:58:29

I think the difference between signapore, India and China is that they don't make excuses.

ReallyTired, are you sure that you compare like with like, not Chinese showreel with UK's backstage? Isn't there a filter of representation - we see only the brightest children of 1-billion strong nation and compare them to ordinary ones of 62-million?

EvilTwins Thu 22-Nov-12 20:58:34

The education system should serve EVERYONE. It shouldn't be a case of catering for the top end OR catering for the bottom end. We need exams which are tiered, so that students get to show what they DO know. Yes, the exams need to be rigorous, but there is no reason that any child should leave school with nothing.

IMO, the GCSE system needs overhauling, but not scrapping. The current vocational qualifications need better marketing, for want of a better word.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:58:41

MsAverage
We need a flexible spread of education that allows the bright to achieve (further papers, IGCSEs) and stops the less bright and the indigent from just walking away from education (BTecs and foundation papers)

We are still suffering from the effects of Maggies 'Lost Generation' (well documented) and their children.
Cameroon will hopefully curb Gove before he goes too far down that route.

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