Thoughts on English bacc results?

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Virgil Tibbs
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Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:08 pm

The so called English bacc results were released today. Michael Gove pushed for these to be included in the annual league tables as a counter point to the vocational subjects many students were steered towards to skew school rankings upwards. Some students may well prefer the vocational route but until today any students who would like to pursue a more traditional timetable would not be able to tell from the league tables which local schools could offer that. Introduced this year, the English bacc is the % of pupils in a school achieving A*-C GCSE passes in English, maths, two science subjects, a language and history or geography. The Eng bacc will not be compulsory in schools.

Here are some of the Eng bacc results for our local schools:
Chestnut Grove 2%
Battersea Park 6%
Elliot 4%
Southfields 4%
Graveney 38%
Emanuel (indy) 66%

So light the blue touch paper and stand back. Much of the educational sector will (and are) up in arms about this for obvious reasons. For parents and children however it at long last adds some sanity and balance when trying to figure out which school is right for them. So for example, if you want a traditional education, then avoid Chestnut Grove, where 98 out of 100 kids fail to achieve this. If however a more vocational route is right for your child, then Chestnut Grove gets a 43% pass rate against this benchmark (inc english and maths).

For the achievement gap to close, and for lower income kids who want to go to a Russell Group university for example, the Eng bacc results can only be a good thing moving forwards. Gove may not be getting everything right, but he is the quiet revolutionary of the coalition and should be thanked for this one.
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janee
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby janee » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:58 pm

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ready2pop
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby ready2pop » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:54 pm

I think the new BAC is a bit misleading because of the science requirement.

To qualify for it pupils need to have been entered in exams for all three sciences separately and achieved A-C in at least two of them. Because of resourcing constraints, most state comps don't do this - instead their pupils do the science double award where they study all 3 sciences but in lesser depth. This means even their brightest pupils wouldn't count for the BAC.

For example, I wouldn't have achieved it as I did combined science even though I got straight As across the board and went to Oxford (not intended as a boast merely to illustrate).

I wouldn't pay it too much attention - just another government spin on the same results.

Whatever way they dress it up though it still depresses me that any school can be getting less than about 70% A-C grades. GCSEs are easier than falling off a log :D
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:14 pm

The phone-in caller is being naive - it is not possible for many reasons for all schools to offer all subjects. Money being one reason for example. That is why the EB is helpful by way of additional information to balance the league tables. It is not prescriptive but merely one extra benchmark for parents and children to assess potential schools on offer. Parents can make whatever choices they wish - if music, art or whatever are a priority, then they can choose an appropriate school where results for those subjects are acceptable to the parents/child. As an aside, some schools teach combined sciences at Key Stage 3 before splitting at Key Stage 4. The EB is merely a starting point to help parents and children to decide the type of school that is right for them - it is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:33 pm

This links to the Wandsworth results:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/educa ... ml/212.stm
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JoanHolloway
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby JoanHolloway » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:17 pm

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JoanHolloway
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby JoanHolloway » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:26 am

@ready2pop
Unfortunately, the science requirement is not the only way that the EBacc is skewed against the vast majority of comprehensive schools.

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2 ... alaureate/

This is quite clearly a nonsense. You have now have the bizarre position of a school such as ARK's Burlington Danes in Hammersmith which achieved very good results for its pupils at GCSE level, but only got 4% on the EBacc score. You can't score schools on subjects that the vast majority of their children do not take, how is that fair? The only schools that are going to score well on the EBacc are private schools, grammar schools and the minority of state schools that offer solely traditional subjects. For the record, my son will be taking the vast majority of the subjects on the EBacc list, because those are the subjects that he enjoys and is good at. But what about children who want to work in the arts, fashion, media etc? Do their achievements count for nothing?
If I was a child who had picked arts based subjects for my GCSE's, I'd be feeling very demoralised right now.
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janee
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby janee » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:56 pm

The farce of suddenly introducing new measures indicates why it is essential that National Government has as little effect on schools as possible. There is a problem of the weighting of the vocational exams which has led some schools to enter students for those instead of GCSE in order to improve their league table position. The answer to that would be to adjust the weighting, not to discount them completely.

The other problem with the league tables is that it encourages some cynical heads (there are one or two) to focus on those students on the C/D boundary, rather than those who might improve their grades from an F to a D, for example. Education should be about improving the grades for each student, not just those which count in the league tables.

Far better for local authorities to work with local schools, rather than using schools as a political football. There does need to be some oversight, but not what we have now - central control on one level and an attempt to achieve none at all, at another.
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Virgil Tibbs
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Re: Thoughts on English bacc results?

Postby Virgil Tibbs » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:16 pm

According to Peter Downes, who Fiona Millar (the anti academy poster girl) says is a much respected head, LAs do not run schools. Here is a quote from him:

" LAs today do not control schools. It is the head and governors who make the vast majority of the decisions as to how the school functions."

This idea that schools must remain under the LA is a fallacy as none of them are in any event according to Mr Downes. Much better to convert to academy status, where greater freedoms and funding is available to the teachers and governors.
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