Commenting on the government’s response to the consultation on the EBacc, Paul Whiteman, general secretary designate of school leaders’ union NAHT, says “NAHT has consistently opposed the arbitrary target for pupils to study EBacc subjects. For some pupils, this will be the right selection of subjects, but EBacc should be an entitlement for students not an obligation. At the moment, the EBacc is an unnecessary straitjacket for schools and students.
“When surveyed earlier this year, 87% of school leaders were opposed to the proposal that at least 90% of students in mainstream secondary schools must be entered for the EBacc. The EBacc offers a narrow vision of academic excellence and disregards the importance of creative subjects that many employers value highly. We should trust school leaders to offer the rich and varied curriculum children and young people need.”
James Bowen, director of middle leaders’ union NAHT Edge, says “The EBacc is an unhelpful restriction on school autonomy and another attempt to drive behaviour through exam reforms and league tables. Ofsted’s Amanda Spielman has rightly stressed the need for a broad and balanced curriculum, and the unhelpful role accountability measures have in narrowing the curriculum.
“Although it is not without its own issues, we would prefer Progress 8 to be allowed time to be used as a performance measure, as this enables more opportunity for school leaders to provide a curriculum which suits all of their students. A huge programme of GCSE reform means that all subjects are more challenging, rigorous and demanding.”
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