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Ebac

Or is it Ebacc? Jury still out. Sounds like an advanced qualification for a Yorkshireman, but the "English baccalaureate" league tables were published today. Mr Gove, the man in a hurry, wants more pupils to learn history, geography and languages, inlcluding Latin and Greek (just how many pupils will learn Latin, but not a modern language??).

Warwick Mansell writes a very clear piece in The Guardian today:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/11/league-table-secondary-english-baccalaureate

I liked this in particular from Brian Lightman, general secretary of the ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders):

"The white paper says that tweaking things around the edges is not an option. And yet, here we are, with a curriculum review about to start and with no detailed overarching philosophy having been set out, tweaking things in performance tables. Schools are already changing their curriculums and taking reactive decisions, because of league table pressures rather than through a holistic view of their needs.
"This feels rushed. It's not the way to implement curricular change."
Munson says he is confused as to whether the government wants to force pupils to take certain subjects or not, while he also believes the selection of subjects for the English bac is backward-looking.
He says: "If the government believes modern languages should be compulsory, it should make them compulsory, instead of trying to introduce change by the back door like this.
"And, under the English baccalaureate, someone doing subjects such as Latin and ancient history is going to get recognition for it, while another doing ICT and engineering will not. That's a fine example of a modern, forward-thinking government, isn't it?"

This is rushed. It is also unfair to publish league tables based on something we knew nothing about before September 2010. Some school leaders will metaphorically raise two fingers to the system and allow their pupils to keep studying subjects appropriate to them. Others will be running around like Corporal Jones transforming their Key Stage 4 curriculum.

Now, maybe more children should be studying languages, geography and history. But the government needs to make a reasoned case for this rather than coming up with this wizard wheeze of using league tables to twist people's arms. What if we just didn't have league tables?

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