Perhaps the biggest disappointment about the whole GCSE reform announcement was the name of the new qualification, that will replace the GCSE.
It purports to be a ‘ Baccalaureate’. It is ,of course ,no such thing.
To suggest that these revamped GCSEs are a form of Baccalaureate is, in itself, misleading. After all, that suggests a cross curricular approach to studies, more teaching time to support pupils ,more self-motivated individual study and project work, none of which is envisaged in this new EBC qualification, or certainly not as announced this week. The term ‘Baccalaureate’ is used to make it sound thoroughly european, cross cutting, and modern.
Those who run the International Baccalaureate, and indeed who study it, have grounds for feeling somewhat peeved by the antics of politicians who bandy the term Baccalaureate around , in such a cavalier, interchangeable ,and ,frankly, disingenuous, way.
Some hoped the qualification would be called the O Level, others ‘ the Gove Level’. Imagine failing the Gove! It cant be the Ebacc ,which we already have, of course, as that is not actually a qualification, even though Ministers insist on referring to the future qualification as the Ebacc , adding to the confusion.
The Ebacc, as we know it, and have understood it until now at least, is a measure of the achievement (though not a qualification) of pupils who have gained GCSE or iGCSE passes, graded A*-C, in English, mathematics, two sciences, a modern or ancient foreign language and a humanity ( ie history or geography). It is seen as just one new piece of information included in the achievement and attainment tables, aimed at encouraging schools to focus on core academic subjects.
The new qualification on the other hand is the English Baccalaureate Certificate ,or EBC. Still with me? See the difference?
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP prompted a few sniggers in the back row of the lower sixth form when he quipped: ‘The problem with EBACC is it sounds like a rather disappointing run of O-level results’ (or GCSE results for that matter).
Calling the qualification a Baccalaureate is intended to transmit the impression that this qualification is something that it clearly is not, whatever its intrinsic merits,(and there are some real positives). So, its not a great start.