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League tables and the English Bacc 'upset'..

(15 Posts)
ampere Wed 12-Jan-11 14:44:02

league tables

What I mean is if you look at today's league tables, you'll see they include the 'English Bacc' as well as the 'A-C inc maths and Eng.'

English Bacc for those who have been sitting under their beds for the past few months is 'A-C in these 5: Eng, maths, science, geog or history, MFL'

If we overlook, for the purposes of this discussion, those schools in whom 90% of the DC got any 5 GCSEs, but only 25% got 5 inc Eng and Maths (ie a lot of 'soft' subjects were being taught), does the sometimes vast discrepancy between a high 'A-C inc maths and Eng' score and 'Eng Bacc' score strike you?

My question is what subject(s) do you think schools are 'falling down' on?

My guess is MFL.

What do you think?

But before anyone weighs in about the iniquities of league tables, I'd agree entirely. However, this is a real question based on data which is 'out there' whether we approve or not.

Ladymuck Wed 12-Jan-11 14:58:40

Only 28.6% got A*-C in a single mfl in England. And for some children their mfl is actually their first language (though probably some tiny percentage).

But looking carefully at the schools in my area I think that Geography/History must also be an issue. I see schools with a decent mfl score as well as science, maths and english but poor bacc scores, so it must be history/geog that lets them down.

But if mfl had become optional from 14, was any other result expected?

ampere Wed 12-Jan-11 15:06:52

Where did you find out about the actual scores- like the % of MFL? That's very relevant!

I think it's rather unfair to measure Eng Bacc at this stage, actually. Maybe in 3 years time, yes, when schools have sufficient time to teach to the (new) test/goalposts, but I can't say I currently blame middle-of-the-road schools for encouraging DCs towards softer subjects since the League Table seems to be king!

ampere Wed 12-Jan-11 15:08:58

another thread

Ladymuck Wed 12-Jan-11 15:09:12


onceamai Thu 13-Jan-11 08:52:49

It's precisely why the children don't go to the local comp. and why I work full time.

dreamingofsun Thu 13-Jan-11 09:51:44

the justification from gov to this new measure seems to be that students should be encouraged to do more challenging subjects.

i don't understand how people can say that - say psychology, business studies, economics are soft subjects compared with say history - which is included in this new measure.

they are all about learning facts and making arguments and they area all academic. they are no easier to study from my experience,both as a student and parent, and pyschology and business are much more relevant to life.

i would hate to go back to learning stuffy, irrelevant subjects just so schools can do well in league tables.

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Thu 13-Jan-11 09:59:00

My guess would be the combination of modern/ancient language and history/geog.

1) lots of students opting out of languages, lots of schools not offering a wide enough choice
2) RE isn't included, lots take that as an option - the humanity list is tiny. I would be in favour of at least RE/philosophy and probably economics and politics as well. Not sure whether ancient history is the same as Classical Civilsations but I'd add that to the pile too.
3) timetabling sometimes doesn't permit the EBacc combination, which I think is a major failing on the part if the school and will need to be rectified

Unfair but illuminating to apply it this year, silly to use it as the sole marker of excellence. IMO results for EBacc and 5A*-C equivalents should be given.

GiddyPickle Thu 13-Jan-11 10:33:22

I was pretty shocked at the figures (but then education figures all seem depressingly low). When we were at school all 5 GCSE subjects were compulsory (ie English, Maths, Sciences, MFL and a choice of History or Geography). That was the case in every school and for pupils of all abilities.

I would be totally appalled at any school whose timetabling did not allow a pupil to take this combination of subjects but I think the problem is often more that pupils don't choose them even if they are offered.

I do think the core subjects should be compulsory. That way the school can plan teaching (knowing that everyone will be taking one language and one humanity) and timetable other subjects around them. These subjects are the ones that really count later on. Its pretty pointless (I feel and I know others will disagree) achieving 10 A* grades in subjects that are considered soft or "mickey mouse" by employers and
universities. I suppose it makes the schools look good in the league tables though.

thekidsmom Thu 13-Jan-11 10:52:14

You only have to look at the number of schools scoring 0% on the new measure to see what a nonsense it is - including both my DS' and my DD's school!

If you're going to measure something that's going to matter you really should make sure you're measuring the right thing.... and the specified components of the Ebacc are clearly not it.....

Neither of their schools do Maths GCSE so will never score more than zero - and the tables show that they are not by any stretch the only ones. The headline statistics are worthless and not worth all the newsprint heaped on them this morning...

Lucycat Thu 13-Jan-11 10:56:59

We have actually done very well out of these tables - we are 'oustanding' grin anyway but we do have a fairly traditional timetable so most students do take History or Geography as a GCSE option and we get very good results in those subjects. MFL is pretty much compulsory at our place too, although some students opt out of doing it as it is percieved as being 'too hard'

I think it reflects more 'Mr' Gove's educational experience more than anything by the fact that he thinks that the EBacc is what all parents want to judge a school on. hmm

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Thu 13-Jan-11 11:06:46

giddy - that's what I said when lots of people on MN were complaining about how unfair the EBacc was. It seems that a lot of school actually cannot accomodate that range of options or force children choose between separate sciences and a language/a second language and a humanity.

GiddyPickle Thu 13-Jan-11 11:58:26

I have just been speaking to a friend of mine about this and she was really shocked as well (she teaches younger children). We both agreed that the "top" group at our school would have achieved the English Bacc and probably many of the middle group would have done as well (gaining all C's perhaps but still passing) and the bottom group probably would have struggled as many of them got below the C grade threshold in some core subjects although they did take all of the subjects required.

And then I looked up our local schools whose % passing the English Bacc ranges from below 5% (an unpopular, standard comp) to just over 10% (the most highly regarded comp with a teeny tiny catchement area owing to its popularity). I honestly expected the better schools to at least be aiming for 30% Surely they can all get the top group at least to this standard?

UncleSean Thu 13-Jan-11 13:49:17

My nephew goes to a school in Sunderland (year 9 and since September he has had various supply teachers, all of which appear not really to be interested, he has not had a permanent member of staff. They have repeated the same work as the teacher didnt know what to give them to do and one insisted on working in pairs - so that they get the right answer between them and he didnt have to show them on the board (again). It is situations like this that really cause standards to slip and children to stress as well as parents. My nephew is now using an online tutor called Maths-Whizz for his maths and relying on me and is parents for help with the other subjects.

FrumpyintheFrost Thu 13-Jan-11 17:52:12

I like the EBacc list - but agree it should be extended to include a wider range of humanities.

However, my ds (currently in Y11) will not reach the standard as he did not want to study MFL and although school advised he should study at least one, it was not compulsory, so he dropped them both.

So instead he will have 2 x English, 1 x maths, 3 x science, and 2 x humanities, plus GCSEs in resistant materials and ICT (both very uesful for engineering degree), and PE (hmm, never convinced on that but it's compulsory)

But will I feel that he or his friends have "failed"? Of course not, he will have a very respectable set of good GCSEs to take him forward to A2s

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