GCSE Options and EBacc

(50 Posts)
Swimmum1206 Tue 11-Feb-20 20:23:52

DS is currently choosing his GCSE options. We received the curriculum booklet today and the EBacc is mentioned.

I’ve heard of it before, but don’t know any details. DS had an assembly today and they were told it is important for entry into Oxbridge or the RG universities.

All I know about it, is they have to do a humanity, language and science to get it. DS is still undecided about doing a language.

Can anyone give me any more information about the EBacc or how essential it is for university entrance. As DS said, surely the universities would look more favourably at 9 high GCSE grades rather than several high grades and a few lower grades just because he had to do the EBacc?

OP’s posts: |
IHaventStoppedCravingYet Tue 11-Feb-20 20:29:17

I’m interested in answer to this as well! DS doesn’t want to take a language GCSE as there are other subjects he is more keen on. The school didn’t seem it mattered as it’s not clear if EBacc will actually be important going forwards. Obviously I want him to pick things he wants to study but don’t want him to have issues further down the line

QuillBill Tue 11-Feb-20 20:35:34

Basically you have to do the compulsory subjects and a humanity and a language. I don't think you have to do triple science,

Schools have to publish EBAC data which is why they are keen to get students to do it.

mumsneedwine Tue 11-Feb-20 20:41:19

No Uni cares. No one cares except schools who are judged by it. Do the options you will do best in.

titchy Tue 11-Feb-20 21:53:53

* No Uni cares. No one cares except schools who are judged by it. Do the options you will do best in.*


Fifthtimelucky Tue 11-Feb-20 22:15:52

I don't think the EBacc matters in particular, but do think it's a shame when children don't take a language GCSE.

As to whether it matters, I guess it depends on what the other choices are. If someone doesn't take a language but studies eg history and geography, I don't suppose anyone would bat an eyelid. It might be different if they didn't take a language, or history or geography.

Surbitonsam Tue 11-Feb-20 22:27:00

I am also really interested in this. My Year 9 doesn't want to do a language and I am worried that it will affect their chances of getting into a good Russell Group Uni. Is this the case?? Thanks for any advice.

captainfleebag Tue 11-Feb-20 22:29:24

Universities don't care.

Schools and Ofsted do.

StillSurviving Tue 11-Feb-20 22:36:04

Languages are great, and we need more students with languages. Interesting just how much English has decreased in terms of overall traffic. Article in the link below talks about lack of language skills being the modern equivalent of the problems once faced with illiteracy.


tadjennyp Tue 11-Feb-20 22:51:40

I teach MFL and fight against this all the time. The CBI thinks the country loses billions because of a lack of language skills. However, you want your own child to take the subjects they like and will be successful in. It often seems that parents aren't very encouraging of language learning. It does mean that you often get small classes. The government wants 75% Ebacc and if it approaches that, you child might be at a disadvantage. This is so rambling, sorry!

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 11-Feb-20 22:51:44

My DD is deciding her options at the moment. So much is compulsory at her school, including a language, which I’m pleased about, I think languages are important. But she can still do cooking and art, so she’s happy too.

RedSheep73 Tue 11-Feb-20 22:58:52

Languages are great, but my son isn't getting on well with French which is all he's offered. I'm perfectly happy for him to choose the subjects he does like instead, and I think most universities are more interested in a spread of subjects with reasonable grades, they aren't that bothered which subjects at that point. Tbh, mosts unis right now are looking to fill their courses, they aren't as super selective as they used to be. And as for the ebacc, surely anything introduced by Micheal Gove must be a bad thing?

LadyMacnet Tue 11-Feb-20 23:02:08

Some unis do care about Ebacc / “traditional” GCSE curriculum. I’m not sure about this year’s admissions criteria but UCL have had a recent policy where applicants without a GCSE in MFL are disadvantaged.

I think wherever students can do MFL for GCSE and get a decent grade they will possibly set themselves apart post 18 against those who chose not to continue with a foreign language at 14.

clary Tue 11-Feb-20 23:17:46

I knew this would be about MFL. No one ever posts about having to study history. it's such a shame that fewer and fewer DC in the uk study a language. For one thing it makes it harder for non native speakers who do do it to get a good grade. I love languages and taught MFL.

But (but, but) even though the above is true, I don't think students should be made to study languages. It doesn't help.

And no, no uni demands an MFL. If you don't have one at GCSE, UCL (and only UCL) insists you take a language course in the 1. No one else is bothered. Unless you are applying to study French at uni, obvs.

Surbitonsam Tue 11-Feb-20 23:22:27

Thanks everyone - really useful feedback. Should add that my child has dyslexia hence why MFL tricky for them. Very bright though so aiming for a Russell Group Uni.

tadjennyp Tue 11-Feb-20 23:41:02

I probably wouldn't recommend MFL with dyslexia. They could learn a language later though.

mumsneedwine Tue 11-Feb-20 23:47:45

No Uni needs a language. None. Not UCL, not Imperial, not Oxford. I know plenty of students at all with no EBAC and no language.
Do the subjects you like and get the best grades. This is what they care about. If that's Spanish then great. If it's food then great. If it's PE then great. No one cares, except schools who are judged by it.

titchy Wed 12-Feb-20 08:03:19

* Some unis do care about Ebacc / “traditional” GCSE curriculum. I’m not sure about this year’s admissions criteria but UCL have had a recent policy where applicants without a GCSE in MFL are disadvantaged.*

NO THEY ARE NOT. UCL DO NOT AND HAVE NEVER MADE OFFER DECISION BASED ON APPLICANTS HAVING A LANGUAGE GCSE. They simply ask that students without one take a language module in their first year.

Sorry for shouting but this gets touted year after year and it's rubbish.

mumsneedwine Wed 12-Feb-20 08:24:22

I'm shouting with you titchy. Incorrect info is annoying 😤

Fifthtimelucky Wed 12-Feb-20 08:29:40

Obviously not all children with dyslexia are the same, but I think many struggle with languages.

My dyslexic daughter was not good at languages but she took French and got a B. It was her worst grade, and she may well have got a higher grade if she'd chosen a different subject. However, I still think it was worth her studying it and it didn't stop her getting 5 offers from RG universities (not to study French obviously)!

lanthanum Wed 12-Feb-20 09:19:05

I know someone who didn't do the EBacc who is reading Law at Cambridge.

Schools are under pressure to increase the EBacc figures, but I really don't think it matters much to individuals. Our school put it as "they're increasingly going to be up against people who have done the EBacc", which I suppose is at least true, but I can't see employers caring unless they have a specific need for a language, in which case they're going to want more than GCSE, surely?

I've no problem with languages being encouraged - learning a language is a useful skill to acquire, and it will make it easier if they need to learn any language in the future. However I see little point in people being forced to do them if they find them particularly difficult, or if it means not being able to do something else which is important to them.

I've a bit more sympathy with schools who find it difficult to timetable for a very small number not doing languages. If everyone does a language, they can all do it in the same block, and can be grouped by ability.

SansaSnark Wed 12-Feb-20 18:03:43

No uni cares about Ebacc. UCL is the only one that even mentions languages in their admissions policy.

Ebacc is good for students who want to keep lots of academic routes open going forwards, but it's not for everyone. If it's not for your child and they've got the option to not do it, then that's fine.

Piggywaspushed Wed 12-Feb-20 18:33:19

Incidentally, some students at my school now applying for A Levels have discovered themselves barred from a few because of a lack of a humanity at GCSE. There is a slightly shorter term view than uni. I'd always advocate breadth.

Tigerswife Thu 13-Feb-20 00:04:34

Just for the schools benefits not dc, choose what subjects suit the child.

MarchingFrogs Thu 13-Feb-20 07:05:19

I know plenty of students at all with no EBAC

I don't know many of them by name, apart from DS2 himself and his close friends, but there are getting on for 400 of them in the sixth form at his school, whatever set of GCSEs they got - it's not a personal qualification.

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