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.


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