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Ebacc- compulsory?

(27 Posts)
TwigTheWonderKid Tue 29-Jan-19 19:14:52

DS is submitting his GCSE option choices this week. At the weekend he let us know how much he hates languages and would much rather choose something else.

I know the Ebacc is more a tool to judge schools than anything else and no university, apart from UCL, requires a MFL as an entry requirement.

The school's GCSE booklet includes a MFl in the"Compulsory" section, but I am wondering if we have any influence in this situation?

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noblegiraffe Tue 29-Jan-19 20:39:23

He’s not going to be able to choose e.g geography instead of French if there are no geography classes running when French is timetabled so if the school says it’s compulsory, don’t expect them to rip up the timetable for you.

TwigTheWonderKid Tue 29-Jan-19 20:56:36

No, I am very much aware that is a possibility, noblegiraffe
but what I really want to know is whether it is worth pursuing otherwise.

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noblegiraffe Tue 29-Jan-19 21:20:43

So you basically want to ask the school if what they mean by compulsory is actually optional?

You can try.

waltzingparrot Tue 29-Jan-19 21:22:33

DS's school has just dropped MFL from the compulsory list, so are aware that some children cannot now qualify for the Ebacc.

Even when it was compulsory they still allowed a few students to drop a language when there was no hope of them passing it as I presume they would rather they took a subject they would pass and boost the school's pass rate.

TwigTheWonderKid Wed 30-Jan-19 09:24:52

Basically, yes Noblegiraffe! There has been a steady decline nationally in children taking Gove's Ebacc and whilst English and Maths are legally compulsory the Ebacc itself is not, having been delayed again by the government. As walzingparrot says, even in schooks which follow the Ebacc some pupils are allowed to drop a language because they have no hope of passing it. My DS might scrape a pass but if he will spend 2 years hating it, there is no benefit to him in terms of university entry and if this will stop him studying something he'd prefer then I will support him to challenge this with his school.

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noblegiraffe Wed 30-Jan-19 10:15:41

Generally kids in a school where languages are compulsory who don’t do a language because they’d fail horribly aren’t doing history or music instead, they’re doing maths and English intervention, social skills and preparation for work type of stuff.

If the school says languages are compulsory then allow one kid to do something differently academic, there’d be a mad rush of parents wanting the same for their kid who also hates French.

GrammarTeacher Wed 30-Jan-19 10:22:45

Yup. What Noble said. Schools make their own rules on this. In the same way RS is compulsory in some schools (not mine).

ReflectentMonatomism Wed 30-Jan-19 10:24:21

no university, apart from UCL, requires a MFL

Even then, you can get a place at UCL without an MFL, you just have to do a 10 (20?) credit MFL module in the first year.

Ontonumber2 Wed 30-Jan-19 10:38:58

You can raise it as an issue, if enough parents (at least a class's worth) do they may consider not making it compulsory. Although initial stages of timetabling might have been attempted they won't have anything deffinate yet.
In my experience very few GCSE students actually really enjoy studying languages, and would choose them over other subjects. This puts a lot of pressure on a secondary school as they risk being in a situation of less than half their students even studying the Ebacc, let alone passing it.
As others have said if your son was one of few allowed to drop a language without a full school level change it would be to spend more time on existing subjects not to do a knew one so you would have to accept that he would have one GCSE less than his peers.

Boyskeepswinging Wed 30-Jan-19 10:47:21

There was another recent thread about the point (or not) of the EBacc. On it I said that I had to become That Parent in order for my son not to have to take history or geography. He has no interest and neither GCSE would be any help in getting him onto the degree subject he wants to do. Whereas now he's doing something useful and interesting for him. If I were you I'd certainly ask the school if there is any leeway with this, at least then you know for sure.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 30-Jan-19 11:03:33

I do wonder whether it is worth widening the definition of a language for the EBacc. Including ancient languages- I loved Latin, but French was compulsory so I didn't have room for Latin. Even including some coding languages might have more appeal to some students.

BertrandRussell Wed 30-Jan-19 11:07:53

For a clever child- which in most schools is an Ebacc child - GCSE language is not massively demanding, and, in my opinion is important as at least a nod to a broad education.

RCohle Wed 30-Jan-19 11:15:37

The only people who can answer this are the school. If there's nothing else timetabled it may be that your DS has the choice between doing a MFL or having one less GCSE.

Resultsday Wed 30-Jan-19 11:17:53

My DD has been allowed to drop languages and change it so she is doing two humanities so it can't be compulsory in general. It may be compulsory at the school though.

My child does have some special needs so that may be relevant.

TwigTheWonderKid Wed 30-Jan-19 13:00:22

I've received an initially encouraging email from school in response to one have sent them. I will talk to one of the Assistant Heads tonight at parents' evening.

Thanks for the link to the other thread Boyskeepswinging (maybe we could start a thread totally contributed to by posters with Bowie-related usernames?!) it's good to know I'm not alone in this and I feel I should at least attempt to help my DS fight his corner.

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Boyskeepswinging Wed 30-Jan-19 13:53:50

Ha ha Twig excellent idea!

One of the arguments I used was at our parents' evening we were told it was very much to be the kids' choices, not the parents and that there was no point in them doing an option they had no interest in. So I repeated this to the school, saying that my DS had no interest in history or geography so why make him do it? It did take a lot of too-ing and fro-ing but we got there and I've currently got a very happy, motivated son (I say "currently" because he could revert back to Kevin & Perry by the time he gets home from school). You may as well give it your best shot, you have nothing to lose. Good luck!

TwigTheWonderKid Wed 30-Jan-19 14:43:43

Yeah I've just been through the GCSE Options Booklet circling phrases like "Taking subjects you enjoy will ensure you have the best chance of achieving good grades..." I also think they had slightly misrepresented the Ebacc in their booklet.

I am in a slightly uncomfortable position as I am also a governor at the school but I have no problem on this occasion with putting my son's interests ahead of those of the school.

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Boyskeepswinging Wed 30-Jan-19 16:17:07

Twig if you've read the other EBacc thread you'll have read how my school royally stitched me up with my options. That is why I'm so passionate about advocating for my son. My parents couldn't be bothered and it screwed up the rest of my life so I'm not letting that happen to my son.
So I think you're right to put your son's interests first. And as for the school's interests, surely getting a good grade in a subject he's interested in is better than getting a crap grade simply to bump up the EBacc percentage?

noblegiraffe Wed 30-Jan-19 16:45:31

surely getting a good grade in a subject he's interested in is better than getting a crap grade simply to bump up the EBacc percentage?

It’s not just about the ebacc percentage, it’s about Progress 8 which has Ebacc buckets. Switching from languages to a non-ebacc subject could make a difference there.

Boyskeepswinging Wed 30-Jan-19 16:53:33

It’s not just about the ebacc percentage, it’s about Progress 8 which has Ebacc buckets. Switching from languages to a non-ebacc subject could make a difference there
How sad is this ... that a child's education is dictated by this nonsense rather than what they are interested in/good at. I despair of the education system at times.
Noble I take my hat off to you and the other dedicated teachers out there who are trying to make a difference to our children despite having both your hands tied behind your back by all this bureaucracy.

TwigTheWonderKid Wed 30-Jan-19 19:05:28

Just got back from school and the Assistant Head I spoke to was very happy to try and accommodate his preferred options of Geography, History, Business Studies and Computer Science as long as the timetable can allow it. She was great about it and all the teachers we spoke to drummed into DS how important it was to study subjects you enjoy.

Assuming they are being honest about trying to give him what he would prefer, then I'm pretty happy by their response.

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IrenetheQuaint Wed 30-Jan-19 19:09:46

Good news!

"It’s not just about the ebacc percentage, it’s about Progress 8 which has Ebacc buckets. Switching from languages to a non-ebacc subject could make a difference there."

Hmm - if the pupil chooses another bucket 2 or 3 subject instead of the MFL I don't think the Progress 8 will be affected?

TwigTheWonderKid Wed 30-Jan-19 19:51:54

He's electing to do History, Geography and Computer Science as well as Combined Science, which all fit in the EBacc bucket.

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Boyskeepswinging Wed 30-Jan-19 20:19:41

Yay! Great news Twig and hopefully one very happy MiniTwig.

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