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Ebacc and GCSE Options - help confused

(16 Posts)
prh47bridge Wed 13-Feb-13 13:03:50

I doubt it will be directly relevant to most employers but an awful lot of employers would like candidates with the GCSEs that make up the EBacc as currently constituted, especially since, rightly or wrongly, they are considered more academically challenging than some of the other subjects on offer.

Children should not be pressured to take subjects purely in order to help the school's league table position, regardless of whether that means they are being pushed towards subjects seen as easy options (as has happened in the past) or towards subjects making up the EBacc (as will undoubtedly happen now). Unfortunately I don't think there is any way of stopping that short of abolishing league tables, which I personally think give valuable information to parents.

I agree that children should study subjects they enjoy and are good at with the proviso that they need to understand where their choices are taking them. Choosing which GCSEs to take is the first point where the child makes decisions that start to limit their career choices.

lljkk Wed 13-Feb-13 11:21:52

Can't help but wonder with Gove's meddling & tinkering habits if even he will do away with his own performance indicator. Coz he can't resist.

So... EBACC is only important as a performance measure for schools; unlikely to ever be important for the future of the pupil themselves, or to their future employers/job prospects, etc.

I think that answers your question, Sanityseeker!

gump11 Wed 13-Feb-13 11:11:38

I have trawled Uni web sites and have yet to find anywhere that says the E Bacc will be a requirement of entrance now or in the future.
My daughter is not taking a language as she is Dyslexic and languages were just too difficult for her.She is however extremely academic and is expected to get A's in most subjects.
Pressure is being put on our children to study subjects that are not necessarily to their liking all because of league tables(which isn't really the schools fault)and how it will make the school look to perspective students and parents.

Let your child do what he enjoys and is good at.It is better to achieve good grades in what he likes as opposed to struggling with something he may later resent,which may also have a detrimental affect on the other subjects.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 10:58:41

I don't suppose the EBacc will disappear either - as a school performance metric. But it seems unlikely it's going to be particularly meaningful for anything else especially as exactly what it consists of depends on Gove (or his successors's) prejudices.

In some ways its mutability isn't a bad thing - if a school is genuinely doing a good job it will show as appropriate Ebacc scores even if the exact recipe changes. Not necessarily 100% - that indicates school that puts league table slavishly ahead of individual pupil's requirements or only offers a narrow academic range of subjects; not excessively high for a fully comprehensive school (less academic kids may not be served well by pushing them this way).

prh47bridge Wed 13-Feb-13 10:09:04

lljkk - There is no reason whatsoever to believe the EBacc will disappear. It is a performance measure, intended to expose those schools who were getting good league table rankings by pushing their pupils towards courses that were seen as soft options. At the same time as announcing the scrapping of EBCs Gove announced the introduction of a new performance measure telling us the proportion of pupils achieving the EBacc plus three further GCSEs.

sanityseeker75 Wed 13-Feb-13 09:21:24

Thanks everyone for all your replies I have booked an appointment with his school on Friday before his options review to discuss it with them and DS in more detail.

The school became an academy 2 years ago and has since been top of the league table so I am sure your right about Ebacc having to do with tables.

GrimmaTheNome - good point about applications I will talk to him tonight so we are prepared for Friday

GrimmaTheNome Wed 13-Feb-13 08:34:27

Getting the EBacc combo is pretty much irrelevant to the pupil - the school may want able students to do it for their league placement.

If your DS wants to go into programming, the question I'd ask him is if he's thought about what sort of applications he might be interested in writing - that might help inform his choices. For instance for scientific software the science is what matters most; for some other areas I'd imagine some of the design type tech subjects might be useful.

My guess is that if he struggled with English then he might be better not doing a language - esp as it sounds like it would either be one he doesn't want to do (French) or one he's not already started learning which sounds like a heck of an ask. He might not get the C grade and therefore not the EBacc anyway.

senua Wed 13-Feb-13 08:12:58

Latin does count towards the EBacc. As do Classical Greek and Biblical Hebrew, in case you were wondering.grin

OP, go back to the school and talk through the options with them. They will know the fine detail and nuances of the scheme.

lljkk Wed 13-Feb-13 08:12:36

That said after Mr Gove's uturn last week I'm not sure the term Ebacc will be around too long.

That's exactly what I suspected, glad to see someone else confirm.

I imagine that employers + universities overwhelmingly care about high achievement at English+Maths GCSE, assuming student doesn't do them at A-level, too. Promotion of EBacc a distraction, otherwise.

prh47bridge Tue 12-Feb-13 22:45:28

Just for clarity, what has been scrapped is the EBC with a single exam board for each subject. The EBacc remains in place. Pupils do not currently get a certificate for gaining the EBacc although that may change. There hasn't been much fanfare but the EBacc has been joined by a new performance measure showing the proportion of students gaining the EBacc plus 3 further GCSEs.

Blissx Tue 12-Feb-13 21:03:42

Hi. Silverbeetle is right. Your son will no longer get an Ebacc certificate. That was scrapped this week. What the 'current' Ebacc is is just a measure for league tables showing results of about five subjects.
Upshot of this is, your son should pick the subjects he wants. If it helps, private schools have not done well out of the Ebacc league tables so far as they tend to offer more choices like Latin and Astronomy, which aren't considered.

silverbeetle Tue 12-Feb-13 17:37:36

Hi sanityseeker75
I work in education and it's a nightmare at the moment with the Government chopping and changing and generally interfering too much.

Your son does not have to take French, there are many languages at GCSE level that currently form part of the Ebacc. My daughter has opted to take German.

Follow this link http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/qualifications/englishbac/a0075975/the-english-baccalaureate

It explains what it is and it provides a list of all the subjects and exams which currently form part of the Ebacc. That said after Mr Gove's uturn last week I'm not sure the term Ebacc will be around too long.

The most important thing is for your son to choose the subjects that he enjoys and will do well in.

Hope it helps

lljkk Tue 12-Feb-13 17:12:30

^should he take a language and if so does it have to be French?

There have been a lot of threads on here about importance of MFL at GCSE, I think the eventual conclusion is it's a good thing but NOT essential, certainly not essential to get into a "good" university.

How important is the Ebacc?

Rather moot point, My personal take is not very important. More important to minimise fluffy GCSEs.

Do I just let him put Computing and History as 1st choice in every Section to ensure he gets these and then just live with whatever else he has to pick?

I think you need to get better advice from your school about that strategy, or difficulty of securing place in triple science. And think about possible directions later. DH has a computing-electronics degree and says he did maths-physics-DT for A-levels. He says the maths+DT were essential for his degree, physics a bit optional.

sanityseeker75 Tue 12-Feb-13 16:08:40

Thanks for your reply.

I don't know why they don't recommend other languages, just says French. Spanish and German are only offered at schools round here as part of GCSE options none of the schools offer them any earlier.

It is only the first block that offers both History and Computing block 2 only offers computing and block 3 History???

I am not to bothered if he doesn't have a language if he isn't interested but then he is not doing the Ebacc and I am not sure if this is good or not really worth being concerned about?

titchy Tue 12-Feb-13 15:56:00

Why aren't Spanish or German recommended for EBacc route? Has he done either before? If he hasn't he'll have to be really committed to get a decent grade in just two years. I don't think there's much point putting the same two options out of each block us there? History and computing will presumably be fairly popular so likely to go ahead. Maybe history as 1st choice in one block and comp 2nd then the other way round in a second block. Third block whatever he fancies! French would be a good balance and a few universities like a language but most don't care.

sanityseeker75 Tue 12-Feb-13 15:43:30

Sorry posted this on Gen Education thread but thought may get more response from here.

So we went to parents evening last week and had great feedback but several teachers asked DS if he was considering doing their subject for options (coming to end of Y9).

He really wants to do History and Computing (at the mo he wants to go into programming and gives up most lunchtimes to go to school comp room to work on a game he is doing) and would like to be considered for Triple Science now as Physics teacher advised he was looking at B grade at the moment.

He has never really enjoyed school until he hit HS and now is like a different child (last year of MS had SEN for English but now think he is at c grade). The problem I have is when he came home with his options booklet I just didn't know how to get him to tick the options to ensure he gets the best for him.

He is on Green Route and it said those on green should consider the Ebacc route and therefore should take French (he really has no interest in French). In the first Set it shows Spanish, German Computing, History and a few others I can't remember but he did say if he has to take a language he would rather try German or Spanish (these are not the Ebacc route though). If he put History 1st and Computing as 2nd then at least he should get one of his choices.

In 2nd Group it has Computing - so would he need to put this as first option incase he doesn't get it in Group 1? The other other option he could put as 2nd then is French.

In 3rd group History is shown again - should he then put it as his first option then to ensure he has best chance - don't think he cares what is his 2nd option in this group.

I suppose my real question is - should he take a language and if so does it have to be French? How important is the Ebacc? Do I just let him put Computing and History as 1st choice in every Section to ensure he gets these and then just live with whatever else he has to pick? I know triple science only has 28 places so have already warned him that he may not get that but I don't want him stuck with options he doesn't really want as I know he will lose interest and not really apply himself.

Sorry if a bit of a ramble - I felt like I needed to go back to school just to be able to fill in the form with him

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