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EBac hits teachers’ jobs
The curriculum is being constrained and teachers’ jobs put at risk as a result of the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBac), a survey conducted by the NASUWT has concluded.
Subject provision is being reduced in areas not included in the EBac, with nearly half of members responding to the online survey reporting that their school plans to restrict pupils’ choice of subject options at Key Stage 4.
Almost one in six respondents reported that as a direct result of the introduction of the EBac, teachers of non EBac subjects in their school had been told that their jobs were at risk.
The Coalition Government set out plans to introduce the EBac for pupils in state-funded secondary schools in England in November 2010. The EBac is not a new qualification, but ‘an award’ given to students achieving A*-C GCSE grades in maths, English language, science, a foreign language and a humanity.
The performance league tables have also been amended to include information on the proportion of students in each school achieving the EBac. The latest set of league tables published in January of this year included data for the EBac, despite it not being in force during the 2009/10 academic year covered by the tables.
Thousands of members responded to the NASUWT’s online survey, which was designed to assess teachers’ experiences of the EBac so far.
A significant proportion of respondents stated that their school was planning to increase provision in the subjects included by the EBac and reduce time for non EBac subjects including citizenship, PSHE, RE, art, music and drama.
The survey confirms the NASUWT’s fears about the implications for pupils and teachers as a result of the introduction of the EBac.
The inclusion of the EBac in performance tables appears to be driving schools to focus the curriculum more tightly on EBac subjects, thereby reducing the breadth and scope of learning opportunities available to pupils. The NASUWT is concerned that this could lead to increasing pupil disaffection, creating greater problems with pupil behaviour and attendance.
Subjects such as arts and music allow pupils to develop important creative and technical skills and subjects such as citizenship and PSHE are critical in supporting young people to develop personal and social skills. The survey suggests a decline in the provision of these subjects, which the NASUWT believes will rob young people of the opportunity to develop this knowledge and will also have a wider social and cultural impact.
The clear impact of the changes on teachers is evident in the survey findings. Teachers’ jobs and livelihoods are being placed in jeopardy, risking a ‘brain drain’ from the profession and denying pupils the benefit of their skills and expertise.
The NASUWT will be using the findings from the survey to inform its continuing work to argue for the retention of a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils.
FIRST THE BRIBERY NOW THE BULLYING
The Coalition Government in England continues on it ideological mission to privatise state education and has now turned its attention to primary schools, with an announcement from Education Minister Michael Gove that 200 primary schools are to be forced to become academies.
Two hundred primaries which are deemed by the minister to be ‘under-performing’ will be closed at the end of the next academic year, withdrawn from local authority control and reopened as academies, Mr Gove has stated.
Despite a parliamentary question being laid the Secretary of State has refused to publish the criteria being used to select the schools and will not name them.
Another 500 primaries will be told they have three years to improve their standards or face a similar fate.
As there is no evidence that becoming and academy raises standards of education, the NASUWT believes that this is more to do with the fact that there has been little interest shown by primary schools in academisation and so the Coalition now intends to force the change.
This move opens up the door to private providers being able to run chains of primary schools.
Mr Gove has refused to rule out that he will replace school leaders and staff at schools which are being forcibly converted to academy status.