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Tell me everything about English baccalaureate- once struggling local secondary now offers it as part of its recovery from special measures

(26 Posts)
Sprungout Wed 05-Apr-17 10:27:14

As said in subject a local school that we were discounting because it was in special measures now offers Ebacc. Dd (Y5) strong academically and sadly the choice of schools around our way is not filling me with confidence. Clearly it's not just academic achievement that I look for but that is a large part of it.
I always assumed the Ebacc was a good sign but want your views. Is it a good sign of itself or is it a sticking plaster for other failings in a school? Hoping it's a good sign of greater opportunity for bright kids in a disadvantaged area.

mumsneedwine Wed 05-Apr-17 10:35:04

The Ebacc is not a qualification. It's just a measure of the number of students who have chosen a certain selection of GCSEs. Now I personally don't think a language should be compulsory as some people are rubbish at them (me), but if I didn't take one then I couldn't be in the Ebacc figures. Some schools care about this, others (sensible ones) don't. It means nothing to your child. There's no certificate or anything !

Laniakea Wed 05-Apr-17 10:58:19

It isn't something I'd pay any attention to. For example, dd's outstanding comp, more than a handful to Oxbridge every year blah blah got an Ebac of less than 30% last year. This is because they don't make languages compulsory at GCSE despite offering three and many pupils take RE as their humanity which isn't counted towards Ebac (which is of zero interest to universities if that is a concern).

When I was looking at schools for academic dd (bear in mind she's in y11 now I expect things have changed) I was interested in - what opportunity there was to do triple science, what languages were offered, whether they wanted bright kids to take GCSEs early (bad imo), whether they did too many subjects (wasn't interested in dd taking 14 GCSEs), whether they were counting GCSE equivalents, if they massaged their A*-C rates by having all but the high achievers on restricted options.

BertrandRussell Wed 05-Apr-17 11:05:00

Yes, my dd's excellent school had very poor EBacc figures because of the RE thing too.

But. A school that makes a very public commitment to the EBacc is sending a message that it is aiming at providing an academic education. So I would definitely see it as a good sign if I had an academic child.

Sprungout Wed 05-Apr-17 11:24:04

Thanks so much. Food for thought.

lottachocca Wed 05-Apr-17 11:38:17

I'd take it that if they were boasting about be able to offer the Ebacc, (which I would regard as a very basic provision) - they were scraping the bottom of the barrel on things to promote and that would concern me. I'd expect every Secondary School to be able to offer at least one language, History or Geography, Maths and Eng lit and lang to GCSE level....if they can't that's very poor indeed.

Sprungout Wed 05-Apr-17 12:04:08

Good point- thanks

bojorojo Wed 05-Apr-17 16:07:07

They must offer it surely? They are core subjects so surely not optional in the curriculum. It is just marketing for uninformed parents. There should be an MFL included. It is just as important as a humanity or umpteen sciences.

Anon1234567890 Wed 05-Apr-17 16:27:19

If they didn't offer it previously then I can see why they are in special measures. Whilst it is not a measure of excellence or of good results it is a slightly positive sign to see them at least offer the core subjects.

Clavinova Wed 05-Apr-17 16:49:32

The average EBacc attainment rate for English secondary schools is only 24.7% so I would also view it as a positive sign if the school is going to take active steps to identify and support pupils to enter the relevant academic subjects for the EBaac. A number of successful schools in very disadvantaged areas put a heavy emphasis on the EBacc - surprisingly so for the intake they have.

BertrandRussell Wed 05-Apr-17 17:50:50

A lot of schools, ours included, only offer MFL in the top sets. So our EBacc score is pretty low.

noblegiraffe Wed 05-Apr-17 19:15:52

The Tories want 90% of children to take the Ebacc range of GCSEs by 2020, it was in their manifesto.

However latest news is this may need to be pushed back due to there not being enough MFL teachers.

Traalaa Thu 06-Apr-17 10:08:49

DS's comp doesn't push for it and gets quite low levels of kids achieving it, but as others have said, it's because they all do RE, so don't insist on a humanity. The school do really well in terms of number of GCSE's, etc and all of the them do a MFL, so it's just the RE thing that stops them. RE is compulsory to yr11, so they might as well do a GCSE. If they then make students take a humanity to get the Ebacc, that limits number of options and reduces the likelihood that they'll choose a creative subject. I approve! It's daft to measure a school by Ebacc when you think of it like that.

Traalaa Thu 06-Apr-17 10:22:30

One thing you might want to ask is when they choose their GCSE's. I have been genuinely amazed by how many of DS's friends at other schools, have had to choose their GCSE options in yr 8. They'll get GCSE subjects taught over 3 years not 2 so it gives teachers longer to prepare for the exams, but it doesn't half limit their education as unless they choose, say history or geography, art or music, etc, for GCSE they don't study it past year 8. I think that's outrageous, but it seems to be becoming the norm.

RedSkyAtNight Thu 06-Apr-17 11:23:42

... though equally Traalaa if your child hates several subjects it means they don't have to slog through yet another year of them ...

AlexanderHamilton Thu 06-Apr-17 11:27:02

I see the ebac as a bad thing. I am fortunate that my two are educated privately so we don't have to worry about it. Dd is getting what I consider to be a broad & balanced education but won't have ebac because she has opted for RS instead of history or geography.

Ds will opt for more arts/technology subjects as they suit his strengths. Ebac is too restrictive.

Traalaa Thu 06-Apr-17 13:48:01

I know what you mean, Red. grin I'm sure my son would gladly give up a few, but to give up all history or geography, or music or art, etc at 13.. ?! Bonkers and restrictive. It's not education as I want it.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 06-Apr-17 14:33:03

Traa - you'd probably like the system at ds's school.

All children continue a language, history, geography, RS & IT into year 9 (plus the core subjects) but then get to choose whether to do a second language plus 2 arts subjects or just one language plus 3 arts subjects. Ds has chosen to keep music, Food & DT & to drop art, textiles & ceramics.

AlexanderHamilton Thu 06-Apr-17 14:33:55

Or they can even do a second language plus classics/Latin & only 1 arts subject.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 06-Apr-17 14:45:05

I'd be worried about sending an 'academic' child which didn't offer the subjects needed for an 'EBacc' but be put off of they were coercing pupils to take these subjects if they did not suit the individual's talents and aspirations. I'd want to check that a sufficient range of non-EBacc subjects was also available -art, RE, triple science, drama, tech subjects.

Traalaa Thu 06-Apr-17 15:01:04

Sounds good to me, AlexanderH! smile

Wishingitwaswarm Sun 09-Apr-17 21:47:44

My DD (year 8) has just chosen her options. We sat through a parents evening where her school basically told us that if they want an academic degree at a russell group uni they SHOULD take ebacc.
I questioned this and downloaded the Russell group informed choices leaflet. russellgroup.ac.uk/media/5457/informed-choices-2016.pdf. it actually states that you don't need a mfl to get onto any course ( apart from the language degree) at any uni - apart from UCL where you can take a short course anyway.

My school was talking rubbish, it is a performance related subject and shows on the league tables. My DD consequencently didn't take mfl because she hates it, and i would rather she studied something she enjoyed for 2 years than french.

Many of my friends have told their DC that they must take the ebacc and i feel saddened that they have been led to believe the lies from the school.

bojorojo Sun 09-Apr-17 22:49:41

It is a better indicator of all round intelligence to take an MFL and although universities don't require it, it says more about a child that has it. Some universities give a high weighting to GCSEs and subjects studied without insisting on certain ones. Same with Geography and History. Most schools won't let you do the A level without these and RE is easier! We just don't have high enough ambition here! A good broad education requires some effort.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 09-Apr-17 23:56:31

Not all children have 'all round intelligence' though - for some its far better to concentrate on the subjects they can do well in than be demotivated by having to do ones which aren't suited to their abilities. As the number of gcses they're typically doing is now decreasing, its folly to make a kid do a subject they may fail in and which is unrelated to what they want to do later if it's at the expense of options that would suit them better.

titchy Mon 10-Apr-17 07:53:17

Some universities give a high weighting to GCSEs and subjects studied without insisting on certain ones

Bollocks.

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