The English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) qualification is a school performance measure. It allows people to see how many pupils achieve a grade 5 or above in the core academic subjects at Key Stage 4 in any government-funded school. These subjects include English, maths, Science, a humanities subject (History or Geography) and a modern or ancient foreign language.
After consulting with school and academy leaders, the Department for Education published its response in the document entitled ‘Implementing the English Baccalaureate’ in July 2017. This included a confirmation of the government’s manifesto pledge that 90% of Year 10 students will study the Ebacc, although the deadline for this was delayed until 2025; in the meantime, the ambition is for 75% of Year 10 students to be studying the qualification by 2022. The decision regarding for whom this pathway is unsuitable is to be left to the discretion of schools.
Our response to this has been to review the experience of students studying the range of Ebacc subjects at Key Stage 3, especially languages as this is the Ebacc aspect which traditionally has the lowest take-up at GCSE. As a result, during the 2016-2017 academic year, changes were made to the languages curriculum studied by students in Years 7-9 which established an initial common grounding in French followed by an options choice at the end of Year 7. As a result, the majority of our current Year 8 students are studying two languages which is intended to organically increase the take-up of French, German and Spanish when students chose their GCSE options in Year 9. In addition, targeted Year 7 students are offered the opportunity to study Latin in Years 8 & 9 with the option of further pursuing this subject at GCSE.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, staff at the academy have reviewed our Key Stage 4 curriculum with the aim of ensuring that all students have the opportunity to follow a GCSE pathway appropriate to their abilities and interests to support their learning and outcomes.
With this in mind, therefore, we will not be insisting that students in Year 9 choose the Ebacc suite of subjects during this academic year although those for whom this route is appropriate will be encouraged to do so; this position will be reviewed annually. Our stated intention is that all students of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to study a broad and balanced curriculum which enables them to enjoy and achieve and we are confident that our current and future plans will enable this to be the reality for students studying at Longsands Academy.