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What subjects are needed for an EBacc, what are the benefits & options?

(30 Posts)
Lottie4 Thu 22-Jan-15 14:43:20

Options will be out soon, and school have been getting them prepared. She's interested in the EBacc, but at the moment they haven't gone into this in detail at school, so I'd be interested to know what subjects she would need, what sorts of grades and what the benefit in the future would be.

Her initial choices and reasons are:

Textiles - she likes being creative, thinks this may help if see did interior design
Something RE/Philosophy/Ethics related, she's just been assessed at 7.25 in Ethics which I suspect is reasonably good, so I guess this has spurred her on with this choice
Music - she adores playing an instrument, practices for hours and would possibly like to teach
French - she is being fast tracked for GCSE higher French, she has to do a second language afterwards, so will hopefully have two language GCSEs.

She can choose two more options, with another as a reserve (sounds a lot to me!). She's thinks she should choose history or geography.

She can do triple science if she wants, but is considering double. She's always felt she's noticeably at the bottom of the top set and would rather put that time into another subject.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 22-Jan-15 14:49:15

English language
English literature
Double Science
2nd MFL
RS / Philosophy & Ethics
History or Geography
Other option

That's 12 GCSEs. My concern would be that it seems to be quite a big workload.

Leeds2 Thu 22-Jan-15 14:55:44

To get the Ebacc, your DD would need Maths, English Language, at least Double Science, a Foreign Language and a Humanity at Grades A* - C. So, to qualify for the Ebacc, she would need to choose History or Geography from the options you give, as I don't think RS counts. It didn't when my DD did GCSEs, although that might have changed.

I don't think having Ebacc gives any advantage at all.

Lottie4 Thu 22-Jan-15 14:58:06

Obviously we have to see it on paper, but this is what she understands from the school. I think that's why she only wants to do double science as it will be one less subject!

She is already being fast tracked for French, so will do that in Year 10, so that's one less in Year 11. It's compulsory for their set to do this. She has questioned this and the response was, why not when you are capable of A* in both subjects. Even if she slips back, it sounds like she will pass these which is positive.

TeenAndTween Thu 22-Jan-15 15:00:14


English Lang, Maths, Double science, an MFL (or latin or greek?), History or Geography all passed at grade C or above.

The making of a well rounded academic set at GCSE.
RE is also an essay subject but for some reason was omitted from Ebac.

I don't think the 'Ebacc' as such is of any great consequence, but doing the range of subjects it covers, and developing related skills is, I think, worthwhile for kids that are able to do them.

Lottie4 Thu 22-Jan-15 15:04:29

Thank you, Leeds2, you replied as I was posting again. It sounds like a good choice to do history or geography if she wants to bear the Ebacc in mind, even if she only wants it for achievement. I guess history or geography would balance up the other choices, ie not too many are/creative subjects which she would do without fail.

She's in all the top sets at the moment for the subjects you mentioned, of course, this doesn't guarantee a pass at GCSE but hopefully it will give her a mix of A-C passes, and if her language teacher is right at least one A*.

Lottie4 Thu 22-Jan-15 15:09:52

Thank you, TeenandTween. I think she'll find it hard choosing between geography and history, but she has a little time - she enjoys putting a lot into history homework but is assessed at a higher level for geography. Either way, it sounds like it will be good to choose one!

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 22-Jan-15 15:10:23

Latin and Greek don't count for the Ebacc. Neither does RS. We had a boy the year it was introduced who got 13 A* and did not get the EBacc. He is now at Cambridge.
It is of no consequence to the student. It is of consequence to the school's league table position.

TeenAndTween Thu 22-Jan-15 15:12:59

Which history syllabus do they do? That might help her decide.

My DD is doing Medicine Through Time and the American West which I think is all quite interesting. Other syllabus seems to be 20th Century.

Suggest she looks at what will be covered for both History and Geography and picks the one she most likes the sound of.

lljkk Thu 22-Jan-15 15:19:09

A lot of schools don't even mention Ebacc, or only very half-heartedly "we'd like you to do at least one Ebacc subject, pretty please" I think it's just short of completely pointless. Other than a very small number of Unis having a MF-language requirement, the Ebacc subjects aren't on Univ. radar, either.

catslife Thu 22-Jan-15 15:19:39

Seems like a lot of option subjects OP. At dds school they can only choose 4 options and as Double Science takes up one option that's only 3 choices in reality (with 2 reserves).
There will be a list of compulsory subjects which will be both English language and English Lit for top set students.
The PP is incorrect Latin is now included in the EBacc (this was changed).

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 22-Jan-15 15:22:12

Glad to be corrected. It was stupid it wasn't. It's still not something that really means anything.

catslife Thu 22-Jan-15 15:42:27

I agree with you DoctorDonnaNoble. The DFE did change it to include Latin following an outcry from teachers and parents but have no idea why they haven't done the same for RS.
EBacc is mostly about league tables and measuring the performance of schools, there are no real benefits for the child.
The new performance 8 measure is now being followed by schools and includes a wider variety of subjects than the Ebacc Both this and the EBacc have meant that in may schools creative and performing arts have been squeezed so that fewer pupils can take more than one of these options.

titchy Thu 22-Jan-15 15:46:33

Ebacc isn't a separate certificate by the way. It's actually pretty meaningless for the students. And no university requires an MFL at GCSE level, not even UCL.

chicaguapa Thu 22-Jan-15 15:55:20

Reading with interest as DD is strong academically but won't be choosing her options until next year.

Would the Ebac be of use if you wanted to study or work abroad? I've always imagined a strong Ebac result would be more easily recognised in countries that work towards a Baccalaureate. Don't know if that's true though.

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 22-Jan-15 15:57:59

It's not. It's nothing to do with the International Bacc. It's a made up by Gove thing that means nothing. It is used in school league tables and as far as I've discovered for nothing else.

Madmog Thu 22-Jan-15 16:08:09

I've just been reading through this as my DD is about to get her options as well. A couple of you have mentioned the amount of option choices OP's DC has. My DD understands she can do up to 12 GCSEs as well.

She has to do Eng Lit, Eng Lang, Maths and Triple Science (although the top set are allowed to argue the case for doing Double Science - hers is that she regularly gets the bottom marks in the class, so they need to convince her she can cope with workload and if she can, that she will pass) - so that's 5/6 options.

She's been told she has to choose 5 options plus a spare, or can choose 6 options as long as it includes 2 MFLs - if they choose this latter option, the school guarantee they will get every option they want, so they are basically encouraging those who've been studying two MFLs so far to carry on. She is desperate to do two certain GCSEs, so wants to take six GCSEs.

This could indeed mean 12 GCSEs for my DD.

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 22-Jan-15 16:22:50

Nothing wrong with 12 GCSEs.

catslife Thu 22-Jan-15 16:41:43

Nothing wrong with 12 good grade GCSEs agreed BUT a child may be better off achieving 10 high grade GCSEs than 12 average ones iyswim.
Some schools try to squeeze in more subjects e.g. by offering Triple award science to the top set in the time lower sets take Double Science. This doesn't work for some pupils (or some teachers) so if this is how the OPs school is offering this subject I would urge caution. Taking some GCSEs a year early also doesn't work for some students.

DoctorDonnaNoble Thu 22-Jan-15 16:52:31

Agreed. It does depend on a variety of factors.

lljkk Thu 22-Jan-15 18:19:36

Damn, Titchy is right. Even UCL only require that a student make up a deficit in MFL by attending a short course, not that they must have MFL in order to be admitted.

TeaAndALemonTart Thu 22-Jan-15 19:52:07

The Ebaac is not of value at all expect for the school league tables.

BackforGood Thu 22-Jan-15 20:02:47

Agreeing with those saying Ebacc is pretty meaningless.
She should choose what she enjoys / wants to do, not what someone thinks she ought to do, as long as she has - as you have listed - a wide range.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 22-Jan-15 21:06:27

I'm just back from a parents evening and have been quizzing teachers on this.

The subjects dd wants to take will mean she won't get an ebacc. She wants to do triple science, german, art, photography and graphic design. So no humanity.

Teachers opinions seem to vary wildly. A couple said she'd struggle to get into a decent uni without ebacc.

Her form teacher admitted the school will push her as she's academically very bright to do ebacc as it makes their stats look good. So firstly he said she should do what she wants but then changed his mind and said she could do photography as a hobby.

Another teacher said unless she wants to do geography or history at degree level she shouldn't worry about it.

hOY said she should do what makes her happy.

Poisonwoodlife Thu 22-Jan-15 21:28:40

At my DDs very academic private school, 12ish to Oxbridge, some to US universities, most of rest to Russell Group or equivalent ie good universities, they are only allowed to do 10 GCSEs, since more are seen as a waste of effort better used elsewhere, be it focusing on the 10 or on extra curricular.

They only specify English Lang, English Lit, Maths, Double Science and one MFL. The only advice they give on the rest of their 4 choices, History, Geography, Triple Science instead of double, Religion and Ethics, Latin, Ancient Greek, French, German, Spanish, Music, Drama, Art, DT - Textiles, DT - RMT, Food Tech (note no * studies) is that unless their future ambitions are in the arts or music or drama or DT then they should pursue at least one of the last six arts / DT subjects for interest and variety but, unless it is something they want to pursue further, ie a talent / interest that they have ambitions to progress to A level and beyond (in which case they are encouraged) then no more than one because of the coursework load.

So basically all that stuff about Ebacc making sure that state school matched practise in private schools was rubbish. A fair few take GCSEs that would not qualify them for Ebacc, and their university prospects do not suffer.

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