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Secondary school performance data proves EBacc is not the right measure for schools

Commenting on the release of secondary school performance data for England in 2015/16, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“We know that the government’s proposed EBacc requirement has the potential to narrow the curriculum, and today’s data from the DfE confirms this. It explicitly states that secondary schools are adapting their curricula to match changing accountability measures.

“Can this be the right approach? An academic core is important but surely schools should be free to develop a curriculum that meets the wide-ranging needs of their students and enables them to achieve their best.

“A recent NAHT survey of secondary school leaders shows that 93 per cent believe EBacc should not be compulsory. 86 per cent oppose the government’s aim for 90 per cent of students to be entered for EBacc.

“The data released today shows that there has been a particular rise in lower attainment pupils being entered for EBacc subjects, but this is not matched by an increase in achievement. Pupils who would be more suited to a broader range of GCSE subjects are not being served well by having their subjects restricted by EBacc.

“Progress 8 delivers the right balance between academic rigour and breadth, which the EBacc does not, and the constant changes to assessment and accountability distract schools from the calm focus needed for academic success.

First published 07 February 2018