Yesterday, the Education Secretary Michael Gove launched the “next stage in radical exam reform”*, with the introduction of the English Baccalaureate to replace the current GCSE system in the core subjects of English, maths and science. But what does this mean for the world of education? Why is the change necessary? How will you, as a parent, be affected?

Very soon, we will be giving you a teacher’s perspective on the new changes but, for now, here is a brief guide on what the English Baccalaureate is and how it differs from the current system.


What is the EBacc?

First introduced in 2010, the English Baccalaureate was designed to measure pupils’ performance in the core subjects of English, maths, sciences, history or geography and a language. The system was originally introduced as an attempt to decrease the number of non-academic, vocational qualifications being taken by young people, which were believed to effectively end their journeys into higher education or to securing a job. It was also established as a means of eliminating discrepancies between schools in deprived and more affluent areas; providing pupils in deprived areas with a greater opportunity to study these core subjects.
The introduction of the Baccalaureate in 2012 will mean an end to competition between examining bodies; with a single end-of-course examination controlled by one external exam board, eradicating teacher assessments in the core subjects. It will also put an end to foundation and higher tier papers, with every pupil sitting exams at the same level, thus providing a more accurate display of schools’ performance.