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The EBacc

(38 Posts)
themonalisa Wed 19-Dec-12 17:19:26

Is it true that creative subjects will be ignored if schools introduce the EBacc? What can we parents do?

muminlondon Fri 01-Feb-13 21:22:47

It's easy to forget that what Gove has been proposing with the Ebacc is not just a recommended range of subjects to study at GCSE but a completely new exam, a single assessment, and if you fail one subject you fail the lot - like the 'school certificate' my mum (and about 10% of the school population) took in the 1950s (they never had it so good). The alternative to passing is a 'certificate of achievement' which sounds like a sticker you get from the dentist. So out go GCSEs, the idea being that exam boards are also abolished because only one per subject will be allowed to have the franchise. So what exam exactly are you going for the non-Ebacc subjects? Or, if they are reduced to optional 'sticker' subjects, how do they fit in with A-level, and degree subjects that prepare the next generation of music/art/drama/DT teachers? Will they be Geography teachers filling in?

themonalisa Fri 01-Feb-13 20:08:32

They simply can't limit children's choices this way without killing off creativity and innovation. Delighted to see the huge lobby from people in the Arts against the silly EBacc.

Poundpup Sat 12-Jan-13 09:45:28

I would like to see is the Ebacc include a practical/technical subject. This could be Music, ICT, DT or Art etc.

I think this would give children an element of choice during their options plus there is the added advantage of keeping the subject choice well rounded.

LocalSchoolMum Sat 12-Jan-13 00:31:29

At DS's school, an Academy, for GCSEs being taken in 2014, they did put all the Arts subjects into one block together with History and Geography, another block with History and Geography and a few Btecs and then a third block with Languages (MFL compulsory unless SEN). So no-one can take more than one Art subject. On the plus side, you can choose both History and Geography.

expatgal Fri 11-Jan-13 11:29:46

It could be just me but I think it strange that this EBACC issue really took off last August, perhaps as a smoke screen to divert everyones attention away from the fiasco and subsequent uproar that was happening with the English GCSE. A kind of lets just throw it out there to show we were already concerned about GCSE and see what happens.

soph365 Fri 11-Jan-13 10:51:24

There are so many supporters of the Bacc for the Future campaign which are opposed to the exclusion of creative subjects from the EBACC. This (and other threads on mumsnet) show that many parents and teachers are opposed to the EBacc proposals. Phew!

ibizagirl Sun 23-Dec-12 08:31:15

Originally a CofE high school but recently changed to academy. Grammar school but no 11 plus. Core subjects are:

Science (dd will not know whether double or triple yet)

Then chose 3 options in year 8 which she is studying now and may take exams in year 10 as a lot of them do. Dd chose history, German and psychology.

phlebas Sat 22-Dec-12 21:21:00

pretty good comp, no grammars in county though super-selectives in the adjecent LA, valued added score for high achievers is good, not great for the low end though & their last report flagged this up (& they've made changes to curriculum e.g. dropped from 4 hours of MFL a week to 2 in year 7 & use that time for remedial literacy).

They do 10 or 11 GCSEs and 1 BTEC; they also carry on with PE, IT & PDP though not examined (unless they use a free choice for those subjects).

Core GCSE subjects are:
English lit & language
MFL (choice of 3)
science (offered as single or double award or three separate sciences)
technology (choice of 5)

which leaves three/four free choices

BTEC choice is massive, I can think of at least seven they offer - school believe that they teach good study skills even to the very academic kids (don't know if that's true ... dd wants to use her BTEC option for art & design which would be her only creative subject ... don't know if they will still be around though)

creamteas Sat 22-Dec-12 20:12:41

Comp school (no grammars in LEA)

Core subjects:

Eng Lang (if completed year 10, Eng Lit in 11)
Maths (if completed year 10, Stats and FSMQ in 11)
Double science (separate sciences available but need to use an option block)
Btec Sport or GCSE PE (depending on the set)
ICT Nat Dip (over 3 years, so it doesn't take up lots of time)
RE (full GCSE higher set, short course for lower one

3 free options (one choice should be history or geog unless good reason not to)

circular Sat 22-Dec-12 19:38:35

Two years ago, just above average mixed comp, academic pathways:

Eng Lang
Eng Lit
Either double science + MFL (choice of 3)
Chemistry, Physics & Biology

Btec Sport (1 or 2 GCSE equiv. in core PE time)
ICT AIDA (1 GCSE equiv, completed in yr 10)
RE (yr 11, no qualification)
PSEC (no qualification)

3 free options

DD1 chose Ebac subjects and a creative. She would have rather done a tech or a second creative than the ICT. Having said that though, it does not appear to have closed off much choice at A level.

As far as I know, the only changes for the current year 9's appears to be that ICT no longer compulsory.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 15:50:22

Hi creamteas and fellow mumnetters,

Can I ask what are the compulsory option subjects for your school? and how many choices do your students actually have?

I would be interested to see what the reality of different GCSE option choices are within the different school types.

Selective Grammar school - Single sex

English Language
English Literature
1 MFL (choice of 4)
Religious Education
3 free choices

I think this is a good mix as it leaves room for the creative, practical and technical subjects, whilst keeping options open for A/AS levels, further education, apprenticeships and post 16 entry to work.

creamteas Sat 22-Dec-12 15:36:29

In our school, BTEC sport or GCSE PE (level depending on set) is compulsory as well but it isn't an option block. They just use some PE sessions as theory rather than playing sport.

They do the National ICT Diploma, but over 3 years so it doesn't use much time to do, and again isn't an option block.

For academic kids, these don't make a lot of difference, but for some kids these qualifications can give them a future. At our local FE, for most level 3 qualifications they want English, Maths and two more level 2 passes. The BTEC PE and ICT Diploma gets them in.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 15:10:37

Correct me if I am wrong and I may well be, as I do not have much experience with secondary school options but PE is mandatory and will be included on the timetable but surely Btec Sport is taking up a second block entirely.

No disrespect but if I was on an academic pathway the thought of Btec Sport or ICT won't have university admissions quaking in their pants or prospective empolyers either. It may well be appropriate if you are leaving school following GCSEs and are looking to go in an entry level sporting profession but having to drop a second MFL. hmm

noblegiraffe Sat 22-Dec-12 14:59:42

Because PE and ICT are compulsory lessons so they might as well get a qualification in them seeing as they have to do them anyway?

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 14:58:11

circular Your DD1's Friends are exactly in the scenario I am talking about.

No problems with English literature or triple science but Btec Sport and my nemisis ICT.


circular Sat 22-Dec-12 14:44:54

Poundpup - You are spot on.

Once you add Eng lit and triple science to the core, that' s already 8 GCSE's.
At DD1's (Yr11) school when they chose,the most academic pathway only took 9 GCSE's. They all have compulsory ICT and Btec Sport in the core.

Some of DD1's friends that wanted to do either 2 MFL or 2 humanities ended up dropping down to double science to accommodate it. Some dropped the MFL for 2 practical subjects too, as the Ebac combo was not made compulsory.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 14:22:06

To me the problem isn't so much the core subjects of the Ebacc but the compulsory subjects insisted on by the individual schools.

For instance, the current Ebacc technically consists of 6 subjects - English language, maths, two sciences, one humanities subject and one MFL. This should leave plenty of room on the timetable for additional subjects. However, check out the option blocks in most schools and they may have added citizenship, RE or pratical subjects such as PE. This usually leaves space for only 1 or 2 choices and this is were the creative, pratical and technical subjects suffer.

Mind you considering the amount of work that goes into some of these subjects, it probably isn't advisable to do more than 2 as I imagine your child wouldn't be able to showcase the best of their talents.

circular Sat 22-Dec-12 14:05:23

Ibizagirl - the proposed changes for the Ebacc will come into play for the current year 7's at the earliest. Intiially, it is just Eng, maths & science GCSE's that are expected to be replaced by new format exams (EBC's?). Then the following year, humanities & languages will be included in the new format. Other subjects will still be available.

The Ebac figures currently shown on league tables are for when the GCSE's include English, maths, science x2, an MFL and either history or geography. There is no separate qualification for this though, although schools do seem to be pushing it for the more academic puplils at least.

ibizagirl Sat 22-Dec-12 07:46:24

Can someone explain to me what this ebacc is please? Dd's school hasn't mentioned it much to be honest. Will dd have to do it? She is currently year 9 and these are her subjects: Maths, English, Science, Ict, Re, Pshe, Pe, History, German (as mfl core subject), German as an option and Psychology. Thanks x

chloe74 Sat 22-Dec-12 00:09:09

you don't hear me moaning that the reason why this is happening is because we have had 13 years of uneducated buffoons enforcing equality at the bottom and destroying our countries finances. Hardly a balance.

creamteas Fri 21-Dec-12 23:46:23

well Chloe to me you come across as a militant right winger, so that's a balance!

chloe74 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:06:20

don't listen to the rude TP2 she is a militant left winger.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 21-Dec-12 21:46:30

do not debate the Gove cotton wool - one reshuffle and he's in charge of the MOD instead

chloe74 Fri 21-Dec-12 20:50:51

The IPSOS Mori report says in summary that:

"There is no significant change since last year in either the estimated proportion of Year 9 pupils who have chosen to take either the combination of subjects that make them eligible to achieve the EBacc, or in the uptake of individual EBacc subjects."

So where is the squeezing out of arts, its the same as before. And even if it was happening, our county is not short of wannabe thespians, it is short of engineers etc so more of a bias to science is needed.

prh47bridge Fri 21-Dec-12 18:22:57

I can't find a reference in the IPSOS Mori report to schools "squeezing the Arts into one option block" but I haven't read all of it yet. Page number? You do realise, by the way, that putting the arts subjects into a single option block is a way of ensuring that all pupils take an arts subject? Some schools informed IPSOS Mori that they had put all modern languages into a single option block for exactly that reason.

The report shows that 52% of schools say option blocks have not been affected, 48% say they have. According to the report the most common adjustment to option blocks seems to be increasing the number of blocks featuring languages, history or geography to make it easier for students to take EBacc subjects. Some schools have made some subjects compulsory that were previously optional. The case study showed that 9% of schools said they had reduced the non-EBacc subjects offered.

The survey conducted for the report showed that 85% of teachers do not expect any further changes to option blocks or subjects offered as a result of EBacc. So, according to these teachers, if the EBacc was going to result in schools dropping creative subjects this would have happened already.

I would also point out that many of those working in the creative industries did not study anything relevant at GCSE level. I don't know what GCSEs Wayne Hemingway took but his degree is in Geography and Town Planning. That hasn't stopped him from becoming a leading fashion designer.

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