The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance indicator linked to GCSEs. it should not be confused with the English Baccalaurete Certificate, which was a proposed academic qualification to be awarded in the English secondary education system in place of GCSEs. In February 2013 the Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the Certificate part would not go ahead, and that GCSEs would remain.
In late 2010, the UK Government introduced a new performance indicator called the English Baccalaureate, which measures the percentage of students in a school who achieve grades A*-C in English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography at GCSE level. The reason for its introduction was to combat the perceived fall in the number of students studying foreign languages and science. The measure has been included in school league tables since January 2011. This incarnation of the English Baccalaureate is not a standalone qualification in itself, although the Government was considering introducing a certificate for pupils who achieved the required grades.
In September 2012, UK Education Minister Michael Gove announced that the name "English Baccalaureate Certificate" would be used for a series of new qualifications designed to replace GCSEs in England, citing dumbing down as one of the motivating factors. The Government stated that it plans for the new qualifications to be more "rigorous", with exams to be taken at the end of the two-year course, rather than biannually as occurs under the modular GCSE system. Chris Keates of union NASUWT criticised the announcement as being "entirely driven by political ideology".
Northern Ireland Education Minister John O'Dowd criticised the UK Government for failing to consult the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales prior to the announcement, saying that he would announce his own proposals for the qualifications in Northern Ireland in due time. Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews hinted that Wales might retain the current system with Roberto De Benedictis, divisional secretary of the Tawe Afan Nedd branch of the National Union of Teachers praising the apparent reluctance of the Welsh government to participate in the new scheme.
In February 2013 Education Secretary Michael Gove had planned to bring in the baccalaureate certificate from autumn 2015, but faced criticism from MPs and teaching unions, which soon lead to its abandonment.
- http://www.education.gov.uk/performancetables/Statement-of-Intent-2010-Addendum.pdf[dead link]
- Blake, Heidi (6 September 2010). "'English Baccalaureate' to combat drop in academic GCSEs". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Shepherd, Jessica; Vasagar, Jeevan (12 January 2011). "Schools under fire as 1 in 6 pupils achieve 'English bac'". The Guardian (London).
- "English Baccalaureate - FAQs from Department for Education".
- "The English Baccalaureate". 7 December 2011.
- GCSEs axed in favour of 'English Baccalaureate Certificate', The Daily Telegraph, 17 September 2012
- EBaccs to replace GCSE exam, says Michael Gove, The Independent, 17 September 2012
- Michael Gove and Nick Clegg: A new exam will get the best out of all our children, Evening Standard, 17 September 2012
- Teaching union chief says exam changes are 'entirely driven by political ideology', ITV News, 17 September 2012
- O'Dowd critical of Gove move on GCSEs BBC News
- GCSEs replaced by 'English Bac' in key subjects BBC News
- Union urges measured decision on exam future This is South Wales
- Major U-turn as Coalition abandons plan to scrap GCSEs, The Daily Telegraph, 7 February 2013