Former Conservative Education Secretary questions Ebacc target

Lord Baker, who served as Education Secretary in the Conservative government from 1986-89, has questioned the government’s target for 90 per cent of pupils to study the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc), claiming that it has a ‘narrow academic focus’.

The Ebacc is a new performance measure that requires pupils to study English, maths, science, a modern foreign language and history or geography.

In a report published by the Edge Foundation, Baker described the Ebacc as ‘an old fashioned curriculum’ and called for ‘radical action to ensure that the curriculum truly prepares young people for employment in a global digital economy’.

Baker believes that the Ebacc must be broadened to offer a ‘solid academic core
alongside creative and technical subjects’ and sets out plans for a ‘New Baccalaureate’ for 14-19 education.

It proposes that the New Baccalaureate should include:
- English
- Maths
- Two science GCSEs – one of which could be computer science
- A creative GCSE from a list which would include art and design, music, dance and drama
- A humanities GCSE from a list which would include history, geography, religious education and foreign languages
- A design and technology GCSE or an approved technical award

It also goes further to suggest that in time the ‘artificial divide at 16 between
academic and technical education’ must be removed and replaced with a new ‘overarching award’ that combines GCSEs, A-Levels and technical qualifications as a new measure of success.

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