The Ebacc is perfect for every kid right?

(94 Posts)
cooperdog123 Thu 31-Mar-16 15:34:29

Well maybe not. I have three children. My first two children are pretty academic.

Emily goes to a local pretty highly regarded high school, where if they really want to learn they will, one which watches and checks carefully, that all pupils are achieving their projected grades.

Emily, will go ahead work hard and get straight As and A*s, the school’s dream pupil. Charlie, my middle child, highly academic, attending the local boys grammar school, will do the same...

Emily works and works and gets it done but never settles till she has done it all right, always questioning herself and her efforts. Charlie, never questions himself and rattles through his work, needs to make little effort and will still get his straight As and A*s. Sickening!

Both schools heavily push the Ebacc. I felt as a parent that it seemed reasonable and logical to ensure my kids got a broad and balanced set of GCSEs. English, Maths and Science, a humanities and a modern language. For Emily my big fish in a little pond with the motivation to really do well off her own back, the Ebacc worked well. Emily knows she wants to be a vet. That meant she has to do triple science, German and history all of which she loves. She was also able to add a bit of variety and do two subjects that she considered to be fun..... photography and textiles. She is great at those. The subjects in which she excels are the creative subjects... the subjects she needs, to become the vet she wants to be, are the ones she has to make a major effort at in order to achieve the A*s.The Ebacc is working for her as she is doing an amazing variety and is enjoying every day at school.

Charlie, does not know what he wants to be but is highly able at every subject he takes. His options choices were interesting. He has obviously done the obligatory, English, Maths science, humanities and language that the school advised heavily that he should do to get the Ebacc. RE (another humanity)is compulsory. He chose to do geography. In one of his options group was Art and History.... He was advised that other people were better at Art than him so he was not allowed to do it which forced him to do History (in so doing providing the school with a ‘reserve’ Ebacc subject).

This opened a crack of worry for me. He now had no subjects that we could consider to be fun as he was expected in the grammar system to do triple science anyway. We were promised that as he was turned down for his first choice of Art, when at the end of year 9 he was allowed to chose the final option, he would be guaranteed his choice. So when it came to it he had a small choice of Electronics, D&T Resistant Materials, Computer Studies or Business Studies. He chose Electronics and yes he is enjoying it. However there seems no reason to do the subject as it appears to lead nowhere and may not be available at A level.

Any way they will both be fine and get an abundance of of GCSEs at A and A*and go on to university and beyond.

Then there is Henry... clever boy, but simply not as motivated or academic, very capable of comparing himself to his siblings in a negative manner.... He is not destined to attack his education in the same way the other two have. He isn't as focussed, his interest isn't captured and he sees no end point for any of his lessons except science (and now engineering) He isn't seeing an achievement at the end, as he doesn't see where he has started and where each topic in each subject is taking him. So he is turning off. He also worries a lot that he is not achieving the accolades that the other two are naturally achieving and doesn't understand why he is not. Fact…. he isn't putting in the work that they are. ....he is bored.

He goes to the same school as Emily and I naturally assumed options evening would be as simple as it was with her... How wrong was I? For starters the school decided to introduce options in year 8 and a 3 year GCSE programme... Ridiculous in my opinion for a 12 year old to narrow down his education and start deciding on his future. He had no clue. He didn't enjoy anything enough to make these decisions. The teachers didn't feel that the had buckled down hard enough to say that he was going to excel at the different subjects. They were telling me that he must do a language, but they were also telling me that a language would be really challenging for Henry. But he must do a language! Henry seemed to accept this and decided upon Spanish.

Well we probably couldn't have made a worse choice...and I regret having told him that he must do this language as he must get the Ebacc. He is now at the end of his first half year of his three year GCSE programme and feeling that he has made a terrible mistake. His report states his target is a C/D in his Spanish which is obviously not good enough for a bright kid. He is forecast an A for science but will not be allowed to do triple science because he isn't in the top group for maths and English. Also after only one term of Engineering he is forecast a B for his GCSE which he is also really enjoying.

He has turned off from a few lessons as he isn't taking enough practical subjects, which is really what Henry is all about. He knows or wants to know how things work. I am really relieved that he is taking Engineering. He has completed his first project and is totally satisfied with the result. He is so happy with the end product, he really has enjoyed the experience. Anyway as he has turned off from his learning, he is quite capable of being disturbed in class or doing the disturbing, and hence getting himself into minor trouble. So, letter after email after meeting with the school to try to change options, all of which were quite instantly satisfying but ultimately never achieved anything, we are now in a situation where he is hating school and a number of the subjects he is studying. He is possibly not able to change subjects because the school say so and hence he may not ultimatley not achieve the grades that the is capable of.

So what to do?.... Like a bright light in the corner, is the local brand new shiny UTC for young engineers. If he went there he could start his GCSE's again on a two year program. They don't want to push the Ebacc. They offer it of course, but it it not pushed down the parents throats. He is invited to build his own programme to suit his likes and dislikes.

He gets the chance to drop a language if he wants to and take a more intensive engineering qualification .....and is allowed to choose triple science, not an option to him at his current school despite the good projected grades.

The facilities are fantastic which obviously blows us parents away. But they blew him away too. He is able to take his academic subjects but they are put into context and delivered in conjunction with industry partners so he understands why he is learning what he is learning in his core subjects. He can embark upon a range of practical subjects as well as the obligatory ones, so he will get to experience a more rounded practical education which is perfect for HIM. He will get the opportunity to progress in a number of different paths of equal standing: A level leading to university degree, or the apprentice/higher apprentice route where he can work, learn and decide later when he has proved himself and possibly be sponsored through his degree by the company he is working with. No competition with his siblings as he is on a completely different path. Yes he can balls it up, as he is a kid but he may just do very well! He is capable of it but not by taking the subjects he is currently working on.

I am lucky to have found this alternative opportunity. How many parents are in my shoes, despondent that they can see their child is struggling in the current so called perfect path, decided upon by the ministers for education and the DfE? How many kids have turned off from education because they have been heavily persuaded by their school and by their parents to undertake the Ebacc subjects that are not right for THEM. Not everyone should be gaining this so called broad and balanced education because some kids simply are not interested in some of these subjects.

I can look at it from both sides. I see it as the perfect option for my first child. It is an option that my middle child has taken and will capably pursue and achieve at a high level because that is what is expected from him at his highly academic grammar school. But sadly for my youngest, it is not the right thing at all. As a parent I am now wondering if the logical pressure that the school and ultimately I, have put on him to take that language to add to that science and that humanity will take its toll and ensure that he achieves less than he should because he is really not enjoying his time at school any more.

TeenAndTween Thu 31-Mar-16 17:01:05

That was quite a long post (!) and I'm not quite sure what topics you are looking for response on.

But I disagree with your title opening premise. I don't think that the Ebacc is right for every kid, and I don't even think the government thinks that. It is rigt that able kids should be made to realise that by not doing the Ebacc subjects they are not getting as 'well rounded' an education. But that is as far as it goes really as far as I am concerned.

I would be worried about the UTC and want to check it out thoroughly. My impression is that these tend to be filled with less able / less motivated kids, which may lead to your DC's results dropping even further. Furthermore they are not always full and thus suffer from decreased funding and closing down of some advertised options.

I think your biggest problem was having a school that selected options in y8 which I agree is far too young, and by sending your third DC to same school as sibling(s) where he feels compared.

TeenAndTween Thu 31-Mar-16 17:02:29

And a very long first(?) post too. You're not a journalist are you?

defunctedusername Thu 31-Mar-16 20:26:00

There is something not right about the op. Why the pictures, why use the children's names, seems like there is an ulterior motive.

cooperdog123 Thu 31-Mar-16 20:31:38

I dont profess to be a journalist. But you read the post, thank you. You are however completely incorrect about UTC's being full of less able kids. I think they simply offer a broader range of opportunities. You are either a teacher who does not like the rise of the UTC and the fact that they seem to have much better and up to date facilities and a fresh teaching method or you have misunderstood the post. The post was informing people not to bow to the pressure from schools to encourage your kids to take Ebacc subjects if they are not right for the kid. Do you realise this drive comes from the fact that they won't be able to keep their Outstanding Ofsted status, if they are outstanding, if 90% of the pupils do not achieve the Ebacc.. This completely marginalises the creative and technical subjects: art, drama, Design & Technology, all subjects which put other subjects into context and that kids enjoy enormously. This is seen when options are taken and these fantastic subjects are not given place in the option groups. These subjects which are being squeezed from the curriculum are those which feed into our manufacturing and engineering industries which Britain should remain at the forefront.

cooperdog123 Thu 31-Mar-16 20:38:16

I am simply a mum with a bit of educational knowledge, who has a child who is doing the wrong subjects due to the Ebacc being pushed heavily at year 8 at a time when he was not really old enough to chose these options. He can't change options and I am lucky enough to have a fantastic school to go to that he can do the subjects he now knows he is better at. If he stays at the current school doing the options he is doing he will certainly fail a number of them but he is able to change and this is a great opportunity. All i want to do is to show that not all children should follow the same path and the Ebacc is not perfect for all kids

AuntieStella Thu 31-Mar-16 20:38:23

A lot depends on how individual schools arrange their options blocks. Your experience that having the academic core precludes arts subjects or 'one for fun' simply isn't the experience that I have had. I don't think DS's'so school can timetable all three is art, drama and DT plus core, but you can certainly do two of them.

BTW, if your DS is giving up a language altogether, then the following is probably useless. But if he is encouraged to take one, alongside triple science maths and ideally further maths for engineering, plus DT, then try German (ie automobiles!)

TeenAndTween Thu 31-Mar-16 20:41:10

I'm not a teacher.

My DD started EBacc but dropped the humanity. She was enjoying it a lot, and in fact even after the decision to drop she stayed in lessons for a couple of weeks to finish the content, but it turned out she couldn't do the exam questions due to late diagnosis of an SpLD.

My DDs' school does not pressurise children to do EBacc. It very much wants to do the best for each individual child.

My impression of UTCs comes mainly from what I have read on here.

Has your child actually started at the UTC yet? It seems from your wording he has not, so is all you are going PR and shiny facilities?

Saying you 'don't profess to be a journalist' is a slightly strange way to write when it would be simpler to say 'I am not a journalist'. Are you sure? Seems a bit 'doublespeak' to me.

dodobookends Thu 31-Mar-16 20:42:53

We gave the Ebacc a very wide berth grin

Quiero Thu 31-Mar-16 20:46:39

I don't think anyone thinks the Ebacc is right for ALL kids. It's not even necessary for many degrees/careers. I'm sorry things didn't work out as hoped for little Henry but your situation is not at all representative of education generally.

Your point about UTC's is also contradictory because on the one hand you are complaining about Yr 8 being too young to choose options and yet you are resigning your son to a particular career sector rather than leaving his options open with a wider curriculum (with or without the Ebacc)

Or you work for a UTC and the whole thing is fabricated shameless marketing.

cooperdog123 Thu 31-Mar-16 20:53:48

I do not work for a UTC and I assure this is not marketing this is personal experience which I wanted to share. Not sure why the way I write and the words use should be criticised really. Sorry if you don't like the way i construct the sentence.

TeenAndTween Thu 31-Mar-16 20:55:50

Reports like this concern me:

schoolsweek.co.uk/ministers-to-review-university-technical-colleges-in-wake-of-black-country-closure/

www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/education/government_s_flagship_hackney_university_technical_college_to_close_just_two_years_after_launch_1_3677946

titchy Thu 31-Mar-16 20:56:55

Most UTCs are a pile of shiny shite. I hope the one you've selected is different otherwise all your dd will leave with is a BTEC entry level certificate in breaking into cars.

TeenAndTween Thu 31-Mar-16 21:01:16

Is this a correct summary?:
- One of your children goes to a school where in year 8 he had to choose GCSE options and was encouraged/forced by you and the school to do EBacc.
- Now in year 9 he's not enjoying it / doing well, so you have decided to move him to a brand new UTC next year.
- Although he isn't there yet (and is in fact brand new so no results yet?), you are advocating that it will be really good, and the rest of us shouldn't get sucked into EBacc route if it is not right for our children?

Alfieisnoisy Thu 31-Mar-16 21:05:05

Bit of a generalisation there titch

titchy Thu 31-Mar-16 21:16:00

I said most not all - I think that's accurate!

ClashCityRocker Thu 31-Mar-16 21:34:50

I think some UTCs are marvellous, or so I've heard; however some are the absolute pits. My much younger brother was sent to one. It was pretty much a dumping ground for kids excluded from mainstream education, none of whom particularly wanted to learn but we're very much at 'last chance saloon' stage.

I like the ideas in principal - I just don't think it's being carried out correctly. I agree 100% that different kids flourish under different educational regimes though.

Marmitelover55 Thu 31-Mar-16 22:21:57

My year 9 DD is doing the Ebacc but has chosen music and art as 2 of her options confused

ChalkHearts Sat 02-Apr-16 03:33:08

If my child was very bright but doing very badly at school I would not be blaming the eBac.

I would be investigating why he's not meeting his potential. For example id be questioning whether he had SEN like dyslexia that was stopping him enjoying school.

And I'd be reviewing lots of other things that had lead him to be where he is now.

What I wouldn't be doing is blaming the eBac.

whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 02-Apr-16 21:07:35

I have good reviews about UTC's from people working in them. Can I ask what area you are in as you seem to have grammar schools in your area too so you may be talking about one of the two UTC's I know. I wouldn't be worrying about the eBacc as its more for the school than the individual and not everyone is suited to the academic route.

roguedad Sun 03-Apr-16 08:56:30

Could not give a damn about the EBACC. I rather respect schools that ignore it frankly. It really puts me off to see schools targeting it in order to improve their league table position on that particular criteria. My balance of subjects at 16 did not qualify for EBACC and it was not an issue getting me into Cambridge.

BertrandRussell Sun 03-Apr-16 09:05:40

So basically, you're objecting to your child being encouraged to do a language? Because surely nobody could object to English, Maths, a Science and a Humanity?

meditrina Sun 03-Apr-16 09:08:19

If I read it correctly, given the reference to the grammar system, the complaint seems to be that a less academic child may struggle in a grammar school and that OP doesn't like the possible options in her individual school.

BertrandRussell Sun 03-Apr-16 09:16:14

But why is the EBacc relevant?

DessertOrDesert Sun 03-Apr-16 09:24:45

I would have been unlikely to get a university place, first class hons and then a distinction if forced down an ebacc route. Yes, I can see why a rounded education, where future paths are still open is advantageous- don't go shutting doors when you have no ideas where the path leads, but in my case essay subjects were removed (barring English), and remainders looked at. Dyslexic is a bitch if you are forced into languages and essays for a rounded education. They were not a path for me from very early on, so why force me to keep going with them?

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