Compulsory Ebac will cause ‘substantial problems’ for schools, say heads

Schools will face “substantial problems” as the government pushes ahead with plans for every student to take English Baccalaureate subjects at GCSE, headteachers fear.

TES can also reveal that the introduction of a compulsory EBac will mean changes to the government’s Progress 8 league table measure, which is due to be introduced in 2016.

After winning the election, prime minister David Cameron stated that his government would implement the Conservative party’s manifesto in full. This includes the pledge that all GCSE pupils will be required to study EBac subjects: English, maths, a science, a humanity and a modern foreign language.

Headteachers are concerned that this will limit the subjects their students can take in order to meet the government’s new league table measure, Progress 8, which will replace the five A*-C benchmark.

Under the proposals, the Progress 8 measure will track students’ performance in eight subjects split into three groups: English and maths, which will be given double weighting; three EBac subjects; and three optional subjects.

But in order to comply with the EBac, students will now be required to take a science, a humanity and a language, potentially squeezing out other subjects.

David Blow, headteacher of the Ashcombe School in Surrey, said the move was likely to cause “very substantial problems” for his students, who would want a greater focus on more creative subjects.

For the full story, get the 29 May edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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