Popular Science News | EBacc in Time – it’s a Certificate not a Course

Popular Science News – the new English Baccalaureate or EBacc is not new, it already exists [Edexcel and OCR]. The government authorised the the issuing of a new certificate called the EBacc in 2010 when it was intended to recognise high grades across 5 GCSEs. It isn’t an exam it’s a recognition of an all-round student with strengths across subject areas. The ‘new’ idea is to make the certificate narrower in choice and instead of students choosing a humanity subject they are now all being forced to study history and geography. If you’re looking for a teaching job then in the next few years there will be a surge in the need for history and geography teachers. Or, to put it another way, history and geography teachers will tend to lack experience.

So what we are really looking at is what the subjects are going to be called and how they are going to be assessed. I was there in the 1980s when GCE and CSEs turned into GCSEs and the chaos was unbelievable because ivory tower educationalists turned out unworkable curriculum and ill-thought out assessments. It took several years for teachers to work out how to teach the subjects and prepare students for exams.

At the end of the 1990s, I was there for the introduction of Applied A levels, not called that at the time, intended to focus on those who wanted to do rather become academics. I actually wrote a module exam and decided the grade boundaries. I did not write the first few exams for this module but it was clear that there were problems with introducing this new course.

Let’s get to the scientific bit now. When you set down the design of a new aeroplane and build a prototype you then get this idiot called a test pilot to fly it and find out what’s wrong with it. It is often a nightmare for the pilot as faults in the design and operation are discovered. Well, here’s the bad news. Children just entering the secondary schools are possibly going to be the test pilots for the newly designed subjects that make up the EBacc. At best, there will be an early test of the subjects and either current Year 8 or 9 students will be the guinea pigs.

As far as I can see, all that will happen is that coursework assessed topics will be replaced by written exams and the grade boundaries will be shifted upwards making it more difficult to get a Grade C and do A levels and get into Higher Education. I hope I’m wrong but in the end they’ll be closing down the Polytechnics that were made into Universities and turning them into school to cope with all the 16 year-olds who will now have to stay on at school for another 2 years. Oh, and the lecturers at those Universities, they’ll have to become history and geography teachers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.