ASCL supports call by Lords committee to scrap EBacc

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report by the Lords Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee warning the current education system is too focused on academic learning and written exams.
“We agree that the education system in England needs rebalancing. Government policies have prioritised a set of academic GCSEs, and increased the time students spend sitting exams as well as the amount of information they must memorise. It is not conducive to good mental health or enjoyment of learning and has felt like an attempt to recreate an education system from the 1950s.
“Central to this is the English Baccalaureate which is not a certificate that young people receive but a performance measure of schools designed to drive uptake in academic GCSEs. This has resulted in a decline in entries to non-EBacc subjects such as the creative arts and design and technology. We support the committee’s call for an immediate end to the EBacc as this would help rebalance the curriculum.
“On the committee’s other recommendations, we agree with the need to reduce external assessment and make greater use of onscreen technology and we think the best way to approach curriculum reform is to establish an independent commission. However, a broad and balanced curriculum is reliant upon schools and colleges having the funding and staff they need. That is currently a very long way from being the case and without a commitment from the government to greater investment in education and the education workforce existing provision is at risk let alone any ambition for a broader curriculum offer.”