ATL comment on DfE EBacc announcement

Press release
19 July 2017 by ATL Media Office
Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), says the Government's response to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) consultation is unacceptably late and woefully inadequate.

She said: “No school should be punished for doing right by their pupils, yet the EBacc policy will penalise schools for offering a broad and balanced curriculum, tailored to the needs and interests of their children.

“The EBacc policy has reduced the breadth of subjects offered in many secondary schools, limited opportunities for our children, and driven many staff out of the teaching profession. Long-term damage has been inflicted on creative and technical subjects excluded from the EBacc; subjects such as art, music and technology, that are not just crucial for our economic prosperity but also enrich lives, are disappearing from our schools. As GCSE entries continue to collapse across these subjects the Government must stop interfering in the school curriculum before it is too late. Many schools have resisted fully implementing the Government’s proposals for the EBacc because they recognise that this narrow range of subjects is not the right choice for every child.

“When ATL recently asked members whether the EBacc performance measure has impacted on students being able to access the best subjects for them, 53% said that it had. Anecdotally members stated: “I now have a student in GCSE History who can barely read and write”, and “this has absolutely decimated the opportunity for students to choose subjects which could actually enable them to succeed”.

“The modified targets for EBacc take-up remain unworkable and simply saying that teachers can decide what’s appropriate for their students is meaningless if they are forced to meet impossible Government accountability targets. The EBacc was introduced because of ministerial whim and nostalgia, and must be withdrawn.”

ENDS

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