Session 33 – Thursday 17th February 2011

Session Title:

Will the EBacc divide  Academic and Vocational Education or provide personalised pathways?

Session Summary:

A really emotive discussion, which started with a definition of the EBacc. The Government have decided that certain subjects make up the EBacc & schools now being judged against that as well as GCSE result. The English Baccalaureate will cover achievement in English, mathematics, sciences, a language and a humanities subject.

The majority of contributors found it hard to understand why the Government would restrict student choice although agreed there should be challenge in the curriculum. There was a consensus that it would be impossible to state what 5 subjects should make up an alternative EBacc as it wasn’t the subjects but the actual restriction in curriculum choice that was the issue of contention.

Participants seemed to feel that Vocational Pathways would lose support and that subjects in areas out with the EBacc might lose significance or staffing levels. While some people felt it was good that language was promoted others felt that they didn’t want students directed into their subjects if they had no desire to learn them. There was a general outcry that ICT was not included.

Discussion centered for a while around why there was very little press coverage and if parents really understood the ramifications of the EBacc then moved to the effect it might have on Primary schools. Would it mean the Primary Curriculum would narrow as well?

The lack of consultation was also held as a worry and contributors were concerned about the lack of educational pedagogy behind the proposal.

The closing discussion firmly stated NO to the EBacc.

Eye-Catching Tweets:

@Suze01: I worry that some students will feel *obliged* to follow EBacc route at the expense of what they enjoy or are good at.

@CarterHeadteach: #ukedchat tweeted some time ago that employers want skills, students want skills… All research since before 97 talked about skills…

@cherylren: We’ll respond as we always do. Strategic compliance with the meddling whilst covertly doing what we feel is right for our learners #ukedchat

@shurlandt will not provide personalised learning pathways as vocational courses will lose support as schools attempt to remain relevant

@ollyo2: #UKEdChat in favour of encouraging higher expectations (even for challenging pupils) but not forcing unwanted subjects on them. Ebacc.

@MattSl talking 2 worried yr 8 who wants to be engineer but now has 7 mandatory GCSEs & he won’t b able 2 select all the ones he needs

@Teachertalks Ironic that a Govt which supposedly believes in freedom is so prescriptive about what children learn

@tonycassidy: Speaking as a geographer, I don’t want studentsto be directed into my subject…

@mosquitomax At my school the perception was that the choices had becomelimited due to the “constraint” of the EBacc

@ColinGoffin Curriculum should be driven by what is appropriate for students andnothing else. This cannot be decided centrally.

@theokk: Arguing one subject more important than another becomes pointless & divisive distracts from real debate about education & learning #ukedchat

@tonycassidy I think it’s more important at 14 that studentshave a passion for learning in subjects they have interest in

@bucharestutor I studied n India where i had a mixed bag of art,music and sciences besides the usual PE n social sciences

@Reteach10: its the lack of consultation that is so worrying

@carterheadteacher  – change is good, but only when it is driven bydata and logic…

@Bafdiploma No he didn’t, he had somebody else dictate how he should think to him.

Tweet-of-the-Week:

@MattSL: #ukedchat we need to educate students for jobs that haven’t been created yet. Gove is educating students for jobs thatdon’t exist anymore

Useful Weblink/s Highlighted During the Session:

GOVERNMENT COMES UNDER FIRE FOR EBACC SUBJECT CHOICE” http://is.gd/LWdNRX

About your Host:

@Nevagonnabslim – Director of Business, ICT, Enterprise, Community and Vocational Education. Based in Kent but daydreaming of the Maldives.

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