Today’s news review summarises a letter in The Times from Schools Minister Nick Gibb about the English Baccalaureate, the take-up of arts subjects and social mobility.
The Ebacc and social mobility
Today, Tuesday 15 August, The Times published a letter from Minister Gibb on the EBacc.
This follows criticisms last week from Julian Lloyd Webber, musician and principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire, who said that the government is stifling creativity through the EBacc.
By way of background, the Ebacc was introduced as a new school performance measure. It assesses how many pupils get a grade C or above in five core subjects – English, maths, at least two sciences, a foreign language and a humanity – at Key Stage 4.
We introduced the concept of the EBacc precisely to halt the decline in the study of these subjects, particularly the humanities and languages. Before 2010, too many pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, were dropping them at GCSE.
By giving more young people the chance to study those subjects, we are making sure that they leave school with the knowledge and skills to succeed in whatever path they choose.
On the point about “stifling creativity” since the introduction of the Ebacc, the proportion of pupils taking at least one arts subject has risen.
Thanks to our new reformed GCSEs, anyone studying English literature – part of the EBacc – will also enjoy a greater range of literature, poetry and plays. Yesterday, 14 August, TES published an opinion piece from an English teacher about why she is in favour of the new GCSE, including the wide variety of 20th and 21st century texts.
Please see Minister Gibb’s letter in full below: