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Pressure for schools to perform in league tables jeopardising student choice?

14 January 2011

The publication of the school league tables has revealed that just 1 in 6 pupils in English secondary schools have achieved the new GCSE performance measure – the English baccalaureate (E-bac).

The Government’s recent White Paper proposed the introduction of the E-bac which requires pupils to achieve A2-C in English, Maths, Science, a Language and a Humanities subject.

The E-bac has angered many Head Teachers, not least because the standard has been applied retrospectively and many schools have slipped down the league tables as a result. There is concern that pressure for schools to perform in league tables will jeopardise student choice.

The Government is keen to discourage pupils from taking “less challenging” courses and a renewed focus on traditional subjects like History and Geography could help more students be admitted to the best universities. But there are surely many students who would rather have the freedom to study a non-E-bac yet valuable subject like ICT and be more than happy to side-step the £27,000 bill for university…

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