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To re-join MN after a bit of a sabbatical to ask you to froth a bit and sign this very important education related petition

(77 Posts)
FontSnob Fri 23-Nov-12 21:56:57

Well, good evening, hope you're all enjoying friday night bum sex and pom bears. I'm back to froth (are any of you still here?).

Please could you sign this petition to make Gove re-think the inclusion of creative subjects in the Ebacc.

Today we were told today that our entire expressive arts department had been up for the axe, RE and PSHE has gone which is utter lunacy in our multi faith world - way to promote tolerance. We have been 'saved' but are on a much reduced timetable slot and students taking the Ebacc will only be allowed 1 choice from the extensive list of options from the rest of the subject choices, stopping many students from studying what they may actually want to study.

This is what we were expecting the reality of the Ebacc to result in, that isn't making me less angry though.

Some facts:

- The consultation on the EBacc is open until 10 December 2012

- The proposed EBacc is not fit for purpose. It will deny children a fully rounded education.

-Subjects are being withdrawn from the curriculum. The IPSOS Mori survey (2012) reported that at key stage 4, drama and performing arts had been dropped in nearly a quarter of schools, 17 per cent had withdrawn art courses and 14 per cent design technology.

-It will harm the economy - our creative industries are world-beaters - they contribute 6% of GDP, employ two million people and export over £16 billion annually.

If i've missed this being posted already i apologise, but i guess it can't hurt to try again!

Thanks all.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 10:34:01

In case you don't feel like reading the whole article

"They are two very different animals: the MYP offers a far broader curriculum of studying eight subject areas –English, maths, science, a language, the humanities, art, technology and PE. In the final year, pupils do a special project – writing up their own research into a particular topic.
The EBacc, meanwhile, is still in its infancy, but so far would only cover the core areas of English, maths, science, languages and the humanities – history or geography. What will happen to the other subject areas is still unclear and has led to critics claiming it will provide too narrow a diet for pupils and leave many who cannot aspire to top-grade passes in the core areas without any qualifications at all.
Fears have also been expressed that – in addition to sounding the death-knell for GCSEs – it could spell disaster for art and music and technology, with these subjects being left on the sidelines."

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:58:53

Thursday 27 September 2012
"We're talking about an international exam which is the best in the world," says the speaker as we discuss what will happen now that the GCSE appears to be in terminal decline. "Why are we not bringing it in?"
The speaker is Dr Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College. The examination in question is the International Baccalaureate (IB) and its Middle Years Programme (MYP), which enables 13- to 16-year-olds at Wellington College to prepare themselves for the full IB.
The question is in part rhetorical. The answer is that it would take a revolution in the approach to teaching, with teachers being given much more freedom to devise their own assessments rather than to stick rigidly to a formula to cover the various units that go towards making up a full GCSE course.
So far, only a handful of pioneers have adopted the IB's Middle Years Programme (MYP) – 11 schools in the UK including two state schools, Dartford Grammar School for Boys in Kent and the Hockerill Anglo-European College in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. Both use its approach to learning but still put pupils in for GCSEs,
But there is an opening for it now with the announcement that the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, is seeking to replace GCSEs with his own English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in the core subjects from 2015 – with the first students sitting exams in the new "rigorous" papers in 2017.
They are two very different animals: the MYP offers a far broader curriculum of studying eight subject areas –English, maths, science, a language, the humanities, art, technology and PE. In the final year, pupils do a special project – writing up their own research into a particular topic.
The EBacc, meanwhile, is still in its infancy, but so far would only cover the core areas of English, maths, science, languages and the humanities – history or geography. What will happen to the other subject areas is still unclear and has led to critics claiming it will provide too narrow a diet for pupils and leave many who cannot aspire to top-grade passes in the core areas without any qualifications at all.
Fears have also been expressed that – in addition to sounding the death-knell for GCSEs – it could spell disaster for art and music and technology, with these subjects being left on the sidelines.
What will also be of interest, though, is what will happen in the interim years. Dr Seldon was far more colourful in his description of the future for GCSEs than just saying they were due for replacement. He said they had been "smashed to smithereens" by Mr Gove's announcement .
"Dumbed down", "not fit for purpose" and engaged in a "race for the bottom" as competing exam boards vie for custom are just some of the more colourful phrases used by Mr Gove to describe GCSEs in the past couple of weeks. Indeed, many heads are predicting a growing number of schools will abandon them before their time – resorting to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) perhaps (built along the lines of O-levels with an emphasis on end-of-course tests and thus considered better preparation for the more rigorous EBacc).
According to Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, heads may well see it as attractive because it is not subject to any political interference and thus will remain constant in its format. In addition, Mr Gove has urged all schools to consider adopting it in the run-up to the EBacc as a better preparation for the new qualification.
The same, though, can also be said of the MYP (and, of course, the IB itself, which has been in operation for 45 years and seen no grade inflation during that period).
One of the criticisms of it is there is no external assessment – the assessment is carried out internally and moderated externally with samples of pupils' work chosen for inspection. However, all this may be changing soon as the IB is embarking on a review of how it operates.
Dr David Jones, head of IB at Wellington College, is enthusiastic about the impact the adoption of the MYP has had on pupils' learning. At present, about 40 per cent of pupils do it while the remaining 60 per cent stick with GCSEs.
"It is almost like a third way in its approach," he says. "It is an independent organisation outside the control of Whitehall. We can provide courses that are suited to the needs of our students."
Dr Seldon gives an example of teaching about Battle of the Somme in history to illustrate the difference in approach to teaching through the MYP. "You tell them, 'if the Germans had this and the British had this, what do you think would happen?'" he says. "You let them work it out for themselves."
Pupils are enthusiastic about the new approach. Frankie Dale, 16 – who is in the lower sixth and is now studying the full IB course, says her parents had believed the baccalaureate approach would put her in better stead for gaining a university place in the United States. "They sent me to Wellington College because it was co-educational and they wanted me to do the IB," she says. "It was more difficult. It definitely pushed you more."
Both Dr Seldon and Dr James say they have noticed that their MYP students show more confidence and are possibly more inquisitive.
Millie Lloyd-Wlliams, who is in the last year of the MYP programme, adds: "I used to do French GCSE and it was more structured. With the MYP you learn more about France and French culture."
Dr James compares it with a more "Gradgrind approach" in the GCSE and adds: "I would expect the number taking it to increase from 2014 because they'll be offering [externally marked] exams from then, with the teachers devising their programmes, you can in fact look at history and think which are the more interesting periods to study than the Henrys and Hitler."
The question, of course, poses itself as to how this will fit in with – Gove's proposed new EBacc – which will involve English, maths and science from 2015. "I think he's about two-thirds right about the EBacc," says Dr Seldon, "He's absolutely right about depth and stretch and challenge and scholarship and not patronising students, Two things he has to address, though. The exam needs to be based much more on active thinking rather than passive memory. The classroom has to be seen much more as a laboratory of the mind rather than a factory shop floor in its approach.
"Also, in the most successful countries such as Singapore, they have a proven commitment to character education, holistic education and leadership education and Michael has to talk about this in its wider sense rather than making you feel you just get the exams job done."
It is a criticism that is echoing around the education fringe meetings at the Liberal Democrats' conference this week. A sense appears to be emerging that the price of their support will be the turning of the EBacc into something offering a much broader approach to education.
If it does not happen, one could see trouble ahead and a delay in implementation with both parties (and Labour) battling it out their vision of education in the 2015 general election.
By that time, though, more head teachers may come round to the idea that they would be best served by putting their eggs in a non-political basket when it comes to education and the MYP and the IGCSE could flourish.

Again, not my words, but very interesting and balanced.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:49:41

Oh and the international baccalaureate is nothing like the Ebacc so I suggest you do a little more research.

FontSnob Thu 06-Dec-12 09:36:29

I'm sorry younger you seem to be arguing with the head of ofqual here as none of those are my words. Just presenting a wider view of the Ebacc from a perspective outside of the arts.

youngermother1 Wed 05-Dec-12 22:27:37

The EBacc is not a single qualification - it is not a qualification at all, but a measure that a pupil in a school has completed 5 academic rigorous GCSE's in a limited amount of subjects.
You were all for the EBacc if it included arts and the IB is the ebacc with arts, is only 1 qualification and is certainly a precedent.
With the IB, fail one area, get no qualification - follow the EBacc route and the child gets 4, only the school does not get a 'measure'

FontSnob Wed 05-Dec-12 21:00:55

"Michael Gove has been urged to rethink his plan to replace GCSEs with the English baccalaureate amid concerns that his aims for the new qualification may not be “realistically achievable”.
Glenys Stacey, who heads England’s exams regulator, Ofqual, told the Education Secretary that EBaccs may result in “limited” teaching motivated to increase pass rates in league tables.
In a letter to Mr Gove published today, Ms Stacey also said that there were “no precedents” to provide confidence that a single qualification could instil in pupils all the abilities required for working life or future study, while also allowing standards in schools to be judged fairly.
The letter was released just hours after Mr Gove refused to give details of what it said while appearing before the Commons education select committee. His refusal to disclose its contents was described as ‘unacceptable by Committee chairman Graham Stuart”.
Ebaccs are due to be taught from 2015, with the first exams in 2017."

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 11:59:24

Ah tufty that's pants, I am seriously considering my own future in education too. He is by far the worse thing that has happened to education on so many levels. I was reading an awful article in the Independent about the new and pointless phonics tests and the awful decisions that it was leading teachers to make. I'm all for raising standards and am under no illusions that change needs to happen, but not in any of the ways that it is sad

TuftyFinch Fri 30-Nov-12 09:46:04

The link won't let me sign in my phone but as soon as I wind up the lap top I will sign and share on Facebook.
I left teaching this year because ... well, in short because of Michael Gove and his army of managers that want to turn education into a business. It's not about students or choice or enjoyment. Just targets.
Creativity is being stifled and de- valued. Gove can't see the worth in art based subjects so let's just get rid of them. He's a visionless prat.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 09:22:18

startail I agree that badly taught re/pshe has no place I also agree that it needs an overhaul in some way, I'm not sure the answer to that but I do think that students need to be taught the fundamental ideas of tolerance and understanding of different faiths, by getting rid of both I don't know where that is going to come from.

youngermother how will students know what they want to do if they have never had any experience of anything other than the core subjects? In terms of the arts, which is what i am fighting for specifically, If you want to go into the arts, design or anything in that field then you do need to have studied art and design at gcse and a level so those options need to be open to those students at all levels.

The ideal of the Ebacc and the reality are very different, if the case was as you have it in your head then great, but the fact is that it is part of the league tables and is becoming yet another stick to beat schools with. It is not being 'offered' to the top 20-30% it is being forced as a pathway to the majority of students. It is also sending a very loud message that the arts are not important (despite their importance for our economy). Hopefully the link will work but I'm on my mobile so I apologise if not. It says what I am trying to say about the arts in a much more concise way.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 01:22:00

As far as i am aware, the Ebacc is an academic route aimed at children going to university - in my head should be the most academic 20-30%.
This was introduced to prevent schools gaming the league tables.
Other subjects are equally important to the country, but are less academic and more practical.
Working for a large manufacturing company, we would prefer many more people who come to us at 16 and learn on the job. Most vocational degrees are rubbish compared to 3 years practical experience.
Also, if you want to do 'business', business courses are frankly the largest waste of time

Startail Fri 30-Nov-12 01:07:36

Art, music and drama are important.

Most DCs would jump for joy if they never had to do another RE or PHSE lesson.

They ought to be worth while subjects, but they frequently aren't.
The kids treat PHSE as a joke and so do the parents as it generates primary make a poster style home work.

DD did a long chunk on bullying, she said it was "really lovely" spending an hour a week dwelling on how she is treated every day of her life.

Well taught A level RE is a popular choice, but forcing younger DCs to do RE against their will does not and has never worked. My school gave up 30+ years ago.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 01:04:45

To clarify, that is from our schools own data on progression routes.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:55:47

"There is also a better progression rate into from the vocational based degrees." sorry that should have continued "into relevant jobs than from history or gepgraphy'. Again, I'm not saying these subjects are not important, just not more important.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:52:27

So in 2012, Gove has stated that learning Latin is more important than learning ICT. He is placing academic subjects above vocational ones in terms of his heirachy of importance. In our school for eg the proportion of 6th formers going on to study one of the 'optional' subjects at Uni is far higher than those opting to study history or geography. There is also a better progression rate into from the vocational based degrees. I am in no way arguing that the three core should be changed in any way btw and I'm also personally in favour of a moder foreign language being in there too.

FontSnob Fri 30-Nov-12 00:46:14

Not all and hopefully not most, but yes, that is what is happening in some schools (I have assumed that the 'other' at the end of the list refers to their final choice) and that is what is happening in our school for the Ebacc students, which is about 60% of them (ish, not sure of actual total). So, a student who wants to be, let's say, a graphic designer will not be able to take graphics and art together. Or if a student wante to go into business, they wouldn't be able to take business and ICT together.

youngermother1 Fri 30-Nov-12 00:35:13

I am trying to understand - are you saying all (most?) schools are going to offer only:

FontSnob Thu 29-Nov-12 22:46:15

Yes I did younger but to save you having to go back through the posts... there is only a finite amount of time in a school week. Extra time is being to the Ebacc subjects leaving room for only one extra choice. This is to ensure good performance in the league tables. This will not happen in every school, it is not good enough that it is happening anywhere however.

I'm not sure if you think I'm making it all up or spinning a tale but you seem dogged in your quest to prove me (and the other experts... including a very good speech given by Danny Boyle) wrong. Whatever your reasons are, they are yours. You aren't going to sign and that's your choice but if you're trying to win an argument or prove me wrong then really don't bother. The facts are the facts, this is happening.

MuddleJugs Thu 29-Nov-12 19:39:02

Had already signed, but would again if I could.

youngermother1 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:22:18

sorry missing ironic question mark after in place

youngermother1 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:21:56

My blinkers are firmly in place - you have not responded to my comment that most children do 8+ GCSE's. This means that there are at least 2 not in Ebacc - that's where the arts come in

FontSnob Wed 28-Nov-12 18:04:40

That's your answer is it? It's nice that you're so idealistic and believe in everything the govt is telling you. It must be so easy to just start up a new school because Gove says so. The Ebacc doesn't limit choice, because Gove says so. I have no more to debate with you because your blinkers are firmly in place.

I genuinely hope that your own children are never effected by the damage that is being done to education in the name of progress, I hope that they and all of our children are given the choices that they deserve in the school that they enjoy, taught by teachers who care as much as I and my colleagues do about their subject.

youngermother1 Wed 28-Nov-12 00:47:11

Support the free school initiative and everyone will have the option. I am in no better position than any other parent in the country.

PieEyedAndLairy Mon 26-Nov-12 23:03:01


FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 21:06:35

Get your head out of th sand and realise that a vast majority of the population don't have that option. But hey, you're alright Jack.

FontSnob Mon 26-Nov-12 21:04:25

Yeah. Simple. In the world of cuckoo's and fluffy clouds.

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