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English Baccalaureate?

(31 Posts)
crispycronut Thu 30-Jan-14 09:42:19

DD is currently choosing her options so we've been sent a letter home offering the choice of the Baccalaureate and states that she has to do 5 GCSEs from set choices to qualify for entry and then get A*-C grades.

Getting the grades will be a bit of a struggle but she is on target for Bs and Cs.

The downside appears to be that she has to do French or German which she is very against.

Will the exams still contain coursework or will it be exam based at the end of the 2 years?

I've done some googling but most of it seems to be ripping into all of Goves changes rather than practical advice for parents. The school have sent limited info but seem very keen.

Will the Baccalaureate be seen as a good thing by employers or is this a faddy thing that will die a death with a new Government.

I don't want DD put under any excessive pressure if its not worth it.

I should add she's not naturally academic and if she was I would be all for it.

MrsSquirrel Thu 30-Jan-14 10:36:27

IMO it's a faddy thing that will die a death. If they choose subjects that they enjoy, they are more likely to do well. Does dd have any idea of what she might do after GCSEs? If she does, it might be a good idea to look at what she wants to do next and think about how to get there.

Will the exams still contain coursework or will it be exam based at the end of the 2 years? Haven't the school given you this information? How are they supposed to choose if they don't know the syllabus or how they will be assessed? If you know which exam board(s) they use, you can go to their web site and find out.

MrsBright Thu 30-Jan-14 10:45:01

MrsSquirel is spot on - it's a bit of Tory led nonsense.

EBac is being driven by schools not Unis or employers. Part of the new Govian League Table data is the EBacc % (as a 'measure' of the school'soverall academic standard). This is why teachers are shovelling the myth that EBacc is a must to parents/students - purely to increase their school's EBac score.

A range of subjects at GCSE subjects is usually a wise move but, for instance, if your child isnt good at languages there is no point in sacrificing a subject where they could get a far better grade (and enjoy the subject) in favour of French just for the sake of 'EBac'.

crispycronut Thu 30-Jan-14 12:16:24

Thankyou, that's exactly what I wanted to know.

The school has given info but it seems very pro EBac spin, listing the massive future benefits with a recognized qualification. There is nothing about the downfalls which for DD would be the obvious and choosing subjects she has no enthusiasm for and if she failed to get a C in just one of them then i'm guessing she would fail the EBac.

We will stick to the subjects she wanted originally which are the more arty ones even though she cant draw or act!confused

Thanks again

TalkinPeace Thu 30-Jan-14 12:50:15

the Ebacc is not a recognised qualification.
One stroke of the league tables pen and it will vanish again.

lljkk Thu 30-Jan-14 12:53:47

Employer will not care.
How does Ofsted penalise schools with low EBacc scores? Are parents really bothered about them?

prh47bridge Thu 30-Jan-14 13:03:00

The reason for the EBacc is to act as a counter to schools boosting their league table position by pushing pupils towards qualifications considered to be easy options. Whether it will last or not remains to be seen.

There seem to be few employers looking specifically for the EBacc. However, it is certainly true that having an MFL qualification is seen as a good thing by some employers. Most would see it as more worthwhile than some of the alternatives such as Media Studies (not saying whether or not that is fair but it is perceived as a soft option). Not having an MFL at GCSE is unlikely to wreck your DD's career but may limit her options a little. If your DD really doesn't want to do French or German I would let her choose something else.

MrsBright Thu 30-Jan-14 13:41:46

EBacc isn't a 'qualification' - there is no certificate.

When I was a teen, you had to get 5 GCE/O'levels including English and Maths to go to Uni - regardless of subject. . I failed Maths. I couldnt go to Uni. How many other promising futures did that also cut off at the knees I wonder? Not until I was 30 did I have the confidence to get past that stupid hurdle. BA Hons (First), MA (Distinction) and I am now about to complete a PhD.

I will be FURIOUS if any government tries to inflict that sort of damage on anyone else in my lifetime.

hellsbells99 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:46:20

My DD1 is currently in lower 6th. She opted not to take a humanity - actually she took music and art but Gove only counts history and geography! This has not done her any harm and will not limit her university choices in any way at all - she is doing maths & sciences.
The 'Ebacc' actually does not exist as a qualification - it is purely a measure put in place by Gove

crazymum53 Thu 30-Jan-14 14:56:18

Although schools can strongly encourage pupils to take the EBacc, it definitely isn't compulsory. For sixth form you usually need 5 grade C or above GCSEs in any subject including Maths and English, for some university courses such as teaching you also need grade C in Science.
dd is choosing options now and the school have arranged the options so pupils have to take at least one optional EBacc subject: History, Geography, French, German, Computer Science but for their other options they can choose either Ebacc subjects or other GCSEs.
In answer to your other question, there will still be coursework in most subjects in 2 years time, but this is now done in school time under supervised conditions and is a smaller percentage of the course.

FernieB Thu 30-Jan-14 15:50:32

Just had our options evening and it was made very clear that the EBacc is not a qualification, there is no certificate and no one will say 'congrats on getting your EBacc'.

It is just a recommendation of a spread of subjects to take but has no other relevance.

kslatts Thu 30-Jan-14 16:47:39

I have also been looking into this as dd is currently choosing her options.
At the school open evening the head teacher spoke about the ebacc who said they were encouraging most students to take geography or history and a MFL, however my dd wants to drop german and when we spoke to her german teacher her view was that it is better for dd to take a subject she enjoys and get a good grade than take german and risk failing or just scraping a C.
I also looked at some of the university entry requirements and they don't ssem to require the ebacc.

reddidi Thu 30-Jan-14 17:32:26

@MrsBright I think GCSE Maths and English at A*-C (or equivalent) are still required for university entrance in England at least.

TalkinPeace Thu 30-Jan-14 17:40:17

DD is year 11 .... it will be fascinating to see what the league tables measure her cohort on this time next year, on decisions she made nearly two years ago hmmhmmhmmhmmhmm

DS is year 9 .... we are about to choose his options for exams that will be taken in June 2016, by which time the government may have changed and Btecs be back in fashion hmmhmmhmmhmmhmmhmm

crispycronut Thu 30-Jan-14 18:29:57

Our letter from school says

it seems likely that the Baccalaureate will come to be regarded as a key indicator of academic success at Key stage 4, and that it may be one of the requirements for entry to some post 16 courses, training and employment, and for some university admissions in the future. To be awarded the English Baccalaureate you will need to achieve 5 A*-C grades in the following subjects........

I'm really glad I asked on here because when the letter said awarded I presumed it meant a different certificate to the normal GCSE. Makes you wonder how many other parents will jump to the same conclusion confused

circular Thu 30-Jan-14 19:03:59

DD1 yr12, so took GCSEs last year, would have been first year making option choices post original Ebacc announcement.
Although not compulsory, did end up with Ebacc subjects, had always enjoyed French, and Geography seemed like a good idea at the time.

What we did notice, was a quite a high take up in the subjects, and French didn't work very well being taught in mixed ability classes. Her teacher openly admitted to only be teaching to a B/C standard.
There seems to be a shortage of decent MFL teachers, possibly due to languages becoming non compulsory for University admissions a few years ago.

So unless your DDs school is exceptionally good for MFL, your DD enjoys and/or needs it for her future career, its probably not worth the bother.

kslatts Thu 30-Jan-14 20:20:02

This is what it states on the entry requirements page for Oxford University.

English Baccalaureate

The English Baccalaureate is not expected to impact on a candidate’s ability to make a competitive application. It is more important that a potential Oxford applicant has a GCSE profile which is strong overall (i.e. contains a large majority of A and A* grades).

Reports in the media or speculation that Oxford has indicated a preference or requirements for candidates to have the English Baccalaureate are not accurate.

Oxford will keep the development of the English Baccalaureate under review, assessing to see if it is a helpful predictor for success at Oxford, but will not, under any circumstances, require it of students who have chosen their GCSE mix before Oxford indicates any compulsory use in the admissions process.

straggle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:49:59

It is important for schools now if not pupils. TBH it's the one thing Gove has done which I was glad to see. MFL were in freefall and it was also quite shocking to see how few people were doing double science, let alone individual science subjects. I'm less bothered about humanities but would rather have that than Citizenship.

So whatever Oxford may say, guiding pupils to sciences or languages and reducing reliance on subjects that wouldn't be considered 'facilitating' for A-level gives more options. Where it's perverse is when schools restrict pupils just to one language, or makes them choose between history or geography, just to meet its own targets.

MrsBright Fri 31-Jan-14 11:09:12

reddidi - only at RG Unis or for obvious STEM subjects like Medicine, Engineering etc. Most other Unis aren't as obsessed about Maths GCSE - mainly because they don't need to use this as a way of excluding applicants at first base, even for Arts subjects where no Maths knowledge is needed. For instance Bristol requires English & Maths GCSE for all 18 year old applicants, Sussex, Kent, Liverpool don't.

hellsbells99 Fri 31-Jan-14 12:25:11

Liverpool does require a C (or equivalent) in maths & English GCSEs.

RiversideMum Fri 31-Jan-14 23:31:29

AFAIK the only university that insists on a MFL for all applicants is UCL. Ebacc is a load of tosh invented by Gove. In fact he's mucking about with qualifications so much that employers are not going to have a scooby what is going on.

clary Sat 01-Feb-14 17:37:41

I agree with others, Ebacc is just a(nother) measure of schools' success. It's not surprising that some are pushing it. I know of schools where they have designated top sets "Ebacc groups" and they have to do the required subjects. Hence some parents do think it's a separate qualification when it's not.

We don't do that at my school but of course MFL teachers will push the benefits (and there are many) of doing an MFL.

In itself it's a good idea to cover a range of subjects at GCSE and as the Ebacc is a newish measure, no one really knows what unis and employers will do wrt demanding it. They can't really ask yet as it's only a couple of years old as an idea. I do think it's a good thing if students are encouraged to study history, geography, French and German but it's not for everyone, and it doesn't sound like a good idea for your DD Op. Encourage her to do subjects she enjoys as those are the ones she will do well at. Watch out for Art tho - it's very coursework heavy and there are hours and hours of work so you do ned to be good at it and enjoy it!

3boys1cat Sat 01-Feb-14 17:43:04

The Ebacc was invented the summer that my DS1 (now 18) had taken his GCSEs. Because he didn't take a language it was as if he had failed to live up to some standard that didn't even exist when he decided on his options! It had no impact whatsoever on his success with university applications.

senua Sat 01-Feb-14 19:25:19

it's only a couple of years old as an idea

No it's not. DD took GCSEs seven years ago. The bog standard comp encouraged them to take the basics + a language + a humanity + a technology + an art. So DD has the EBacc.
DS - at a different school - took GCSEs the year they, retrospectively, invented the EBacc. He got it too because he took a spread of subjects.
DH and I have the equivalent of EBacc
My parents have the equivalent of EBacc.
A rounded education is not "a couple of years old as an idea".hmm

clary Sat 01-Feb-14 19:29:54

No obviously the idea of a rounded education is not a couple of years old!!

I have O levels in science, maths, MFL and history too.

I meant that the idea of the EBacc as a specific measure is in effect only a couple of years old, as the students who knew about it before they chose their GCSE options only took their GCSEs last year (as someone else says upthread)

So only now is feedback filtering through about whether and which employers demand it of applicants. And details wrt universities' demands are still a year in the future.

Before the current yr 12, no employer or uni could reasonably demand the Ebacc as such (as opposed to asking for a spread of subjects etc) because it wasn't a measure that had been introduced. It's hardly fair to say to a student "oh well you should have done this and this" in retrospect.

(It's not really fair to judge schools in retrospect either, though that's what happened!)

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