Talk

Advanced search

So this ebacc thing, does it matter for university?

(55 Posts)
Neverthelessshepersisted Wed 15-Feb-17 21:00:00

School is saying DS should take the ebaac-qualifying GCSE subjects or he will be looked on unfavourably by "Russell Group Universities".

DH is a professor at a Russell Group University and has never heard of the ebaac. So he reckons it doesn't matter provided you take testing subjects.

I have politely pointed out the the undergraduate admissions team might know a bit more.

The issue is that DS can't speak French. I mean he has a "level 4" but trust me he can't speak French and we reckon him spending two more years passing tests about using the conditional whilst being unable to say "he is going" is a waste of time and he'd be better off doing computer science instead.

He is v.good at the core subjects and can pass French tests.

titchy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:22:14

Ebacc means sweet FA for universities. However you don't need to speak, or have any sort of language ability, to pass French GCSE. Sadly.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 16-Feb-17 09:26:13

Ebacc is not at all relevant. In fact many leading independent schools who pride themselves on getting pupils into RG universities ignore it completely especially where humanities are concerned as only history or geography count rather than including subjects like RS.

There may be a tiny (& I mean like maybe one or two) universities that have a language requirement but even then it can be fulfilled in other ways b

Scarydinosaurs Thu 16-Feb-17 09:27:40

Do not worry about taking French.

EBACC has been a massive f up.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 16-Feb-17 09:31:46

I'm a huge fan of language learning, but I think ucl is the only university that "requires" a language GCSE.

aginghippy Thu 16-Feb-17 09:32:57

School are talking rubbish. If you want reassurance, look at the websites of a couple of potential universities. It's not mentioned anywhere.

In Informed Choices the Russell Group say

Universities may ask for a specific number of GCSEs (or their equivalent). For example, a number of medical courses ask for five (sometimes more) A* grades.

GCSE English or another standard level equivalent is very often required at grade C at least. At many universities, this is a universal entry requirement for any course. Mathematics is also often required at grade C at least.

No mention of ebacc.

meditrina Thu 16-Feb-17 09:33:54

With the demise of the AS level it is quite possible that GCSE performance will matter more for university entrance (similar to the way O levels did back in my day).

So a decent core of subjects considered 'academic' is desirable, and may become necessary. But no-one has a crystal ball.

Some humanities courses want to see a language, but if he's going down the route of maths/physics/computer science, it's really unlikely to matter.

dreamingofsun Thu 16-Feb-17 10:03:11

my son didn't do any languages at gcse. one of the teachers in the lower school said he wouldn't be able to go to uni. i said he won't pass and he's not wasting a subject as he's bright and will pass something else. Thankgoodness i stood my ground or he would have probably dropped the subject closest to what he is studying at uni

He had 5 offers from russell group unis (or equivalent) and not one mentioned he didn't have language gcse.

mumsneedwine Thu 16-Feb-17 12:01:54

Nope

BoboChic Thu 16-Feb-17 12:39:01

Universities do not care about the EBacc. Concentrate your DS' efforts on acquiring the skills he really needs in preparation for HE.

titchy Thu 16-Feb-17 12:50:34

With the demise of the AS level it is quite possible that GCSE performance will matter more for university entrance (similar to the way O levels did back in my day).

Unlikely. The number of applications from EU students is decreasing. The number of 18 year olds is decreasing. Universities are competing for fewer and fewer applicants.

meditrina Thu 16-Feb-17 13:02:53

I agree, there will be many courses which are not selecting/rejecting but which will be courting candidates.

But if your aim is for a course which is selecting, or at least you do not want to rule that out in yr8/9, then taking an academic core is the prudent choice.

(and EBACC really is just (unpopular) jargon for the sort of subjects that are compulsory (or so strongly expected it amounts to near as dammit compulsory) in the more academic schools/streams/sets)

70ontheinside Thu 16-Feb-17 13:03:28

Ebacc measures school performance and has nought to do with your dcs' university entrance.

AnguaResurgam Thu 16-Feb-17 13:05:05

The number of 18 year olds is decreasing.

Temporarily. Schools are really struggling with the bulge currently going through.

Neverthelessshepersisted Thu 16-Feb-17 17:37:14

Thanks everyone.

Is anyone at the admissions end of things?

user7214743615 Thu 16-Feb-17 17:46:21

*DH is a professor at a Russell Group University and has never heard of the ebaac. So he reckons it doesn't matter provided you take testing subjects.
I have politely pointed out the the undergraduate admissions team might know a bit more.*

This doesn't make any sense. Of course a professor at a RG university is aware of their own admissions policies, at least for their own subject and related subjects. The admissions teams are headed by academics, i.e. people from your own DH's department, and the criteria used by administrators in the admissions teams are set by academics.

Why on earth would you ask for advice from academics on MN, when your own DH is an academic?

user7214743615 Thu 16-Feb-17 17:50:44

Some humanities courses want to see a language.

Can you name one which would actually require a language at GCSE, if the applicant otherwise had high grades, or be less likely to give an offer because of the lack of language? I don't know of any.

As far as I know, UCL is pretty much the only university that expresses an opinion on MFL GCSE (for subjects apart from MFL). And UCL simply ask that if students don't have an MFL GCSE they take a language module during their degree - they don't turn down students for not having MFL GCSE.

Neverthelessshepersisted Thu 16-Feb-17 18:08:52

Dh does not know what the GCSE requirements are.

Nor does our mate G (same job) who just spouted random opinions when I asked him.

Dh has never interviewed an undergraduate.

I am not putting ds' fate into their hands as they clearly don't have a clue.

user7214743615 Thu 16-Feb-17 18:19:15

Dh has never interviewed an undergraduate.

Most course don't interview.

He seriously doesn't know the entrance requirements to his own department and he's a professor? How is that possible, even if he is not involved with admissions? (Absolutely unthinkable for all departments I've ever been in.)

titchy Thu 16-Feb-17 18:44:02

Can I suggest your dh doesn't know the GCSE requirements in his dept because there aren't any. Like the vast vast vast majority of university depts.

I'm sure he's aware of the A level requirements. Although if he isn't then feel free to get your information from elsewhere. Like prospectuses.

user7214743615 Thu 16-Feb-17 18:52:17

Yes, I would think that's the case too: five good GCSE passes including Maths and English is the base requirement for most RG courses and very few care about anything beyond that. If all the GCSE grades are low passes, admissions teams might question high predicted A level grades, but the specific subjects chosen don't play a role.

Even top courses like Oxbridge ones, which often do use GCSE grades in their scoring, are happy with eight or so core subjects and don't express particular preferences for subjects.

Leeds2 Thu 16-Feb-17 20:06:51

It really won't matter if your DS doesn't do a MFL GCSE, and doesn't get the Ebacc. Schools used to like students to get the Ebacc because it looked good for the school in league tables, not because it was of any benefit to the student.

As someone upthread has pointed out, UCL are the only uni wanting some sort of commitment to a foreign language. If a student doesn't have the GCSE, they can do a language course in their first year. So lack of GCSE language doesn't stop someone applying there. Would personally avoid applying to UCL if I didn't have a MFL GCSE, and would advise my DC to do the same.

Neverthelessshepersisted Thu 16-Feb-17 21:22:44

Thanks Leeds

V interesting re UCL

Leeds2 Thu 16-Feb-17 21:27:37

I think it odd that they insist on a language requirement when no one else does. I think it would be quite hard for a DC without a MFL GCSE to go to UCL and have to struggle through a language requirement when they would much rather be doing other things. If I had a DC without the modern language, I would encourage them to apply elsewhere and avoid the issue.

BasiliskStare Fri 17-Feb-17 01:00:18

Would personally avoid applying to UCL if I didn't have a MFL GCSE, and would advise my DC to do the same.

I wouldn't.

As far as I can see all you are required to do after other entrance requirements is to take a relatively modest ( in the scale of university entrance) course in an MFL (once you have been accepted) . Others will tell me I am wrong but if all else was what you wanted I certainly wouldn't not apply to UCL because of their MFL requirement. If UCL does not appeal for other reasons - yes - go elsewhere. But if it does - this requirement would certainly not make me advise my DC or others not to apply.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now