Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Business leaders commit to developing an enterprise qualification for our baccalaureate

A group of influential  business leaders from the group "For Entrepreneurs Only"  (http://www.forentrepreneursonly.co.uk/) has given their backing to the inclusion of an enterprise qualification in our Baccalaureate, and have agreed to help us develop the overall award. 

David Kilburn, owner of MKM Building Supplies and one of the founders of F.E.O, is committed to helping Business Start-ups.  Part of the strategy is to invest in education, and to this end, David chairs the local Young Enterprise Board .

We look forward to working with David and his colleagues from F.E.O. to hone an enterprise qualification that will give students the confidence they need to be entrepreneurial young men and women, confident to face  the challenges and rigour of working life.

Andrew Chubb

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Apple UK's network of educational professionals offer their support

Further good news emerged on Friday as Apple UK's  education division agreed to support the development of our Baccalaureate through its network of Distinguished Educators and Regional Training Centres.

This support will be invaluable as we seek to ensure that the ICT component of our Baccalaureate  enables our young people to be familiar and confident with Web 2.0 technology, able to use and create wikis, blogs, podcasts and video casts, as well as become proficient with more traditional ICT programmes.

The Secretary of State's current proposals  do not require students to obtain an ICT qualification to achieve the "English Baccalaureate".

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Curriculum Foundation backs Sentamu Suite of Baccalaureates

I am delighted to announce that The Curriculum Foundation has given its backing to our plans for developing a suite of baccalaureate qualifications.

The Curriculum Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to maximise the potential of the school curriculum for all learners.  It is led by Professor Mick Waters, formerly Director of Curriculum for QCA, and has an advisory panel chaired by Lord Puttnam, consisting of many of the best-known names in education:

Estelle Morris;
Professor Sir Tim Brighouse;
Sir Ken Robinson;
Sir John Jones;
Annika Small and;
Tony Mackay

The Foundation states:

"(Our) starting point is the conviction that there is a universal core at the heart of every successful curriculum: a core that is common to nurseries, schools and colleges; common to all communities and all nations. This universal core excites young people╩╝s imaginations, extends their horizons and equips them with the confidence, ability and desire to improve the world".

We will be working with The  Foundation to ensure that our suite of Baccalaureates enables our students to express and reach their full potential in this way.  Watch this space!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Response to 'Anon'

Dear Anon,

Thank you for taking the time to respond in such detail. I will try to reply to your points in turn:

  1. I think it is wrong to infer that schools who offer BTecs are failing their students. In my experience, headteachers are absolutely committed to finding the most appropriate qualifications to suit their students' interests and learning styles.  The increase in students entering further and higher education in recent years can be attributed, at least in part, to students following courses that suit their learning style whilst at school.
  2. I think it is a sweeping statement to say that students are entered for BTecs just to push schools up the league tables.  What I do know is that many of my colleague Heads are feeling forced to alter their students' curriculum so that their school is not seen in a poor light in the inevitable EBacc league tables.  The introduction of the EBacc would therefore seem in danger of militating against students' better educational interests.
  3. We have decided  only to count BTecs at Merit level for the purpose of our baccalaureates.  These have the equivalence of "B" grade GCSEs, and are demanding qualifications.
  4. To insist on GCSE languages is to limit the choice available to students.  Firstly, few would argue that a business language qualification would not be useful, yet this is not a focus of the GCSE qualification.  Secondly, students who decide to take the academically stretching language of Mandarin would not qualify for the EBacc if it were their only language, as there is not a GCSE qualification for non-native speakers available to them.
  5. We have offered Triple Science for a long time, and will continue to do so for our suite of baccalaureates.
  6. It is our view that all properly accredited subjects have value for students. 
  7. ICT was included because of its relevance to daily working and personal life, rather than as preparation for a university course.  The aim of our baccalaureates is to give a rounded education that prepares students to be successful citizens in the broadest definition of the term.
Your response does not appear to address some of the other limitations of the EBacc which we are aiming to overcome, specifically:

  1. Our requirement to achieve 9, rather than 6, qualifications to gain one of our baccalaureates;
  2. That RE should count as a core Humanity and;
  3. The general point that courses based on applied learning and which are vocationally-oriented suit some students' learning styles better; it is only fair that they should have the opportunity to study these and receive recognition for them
Kind regards


Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Sentamu Suite of Baccalaureates (proposed)

As promised, here is our initial set of proposals for a coherent suite of baccalaureates.  The rationale is given below the table:


GCSE A* to C

GCSE A* to C

Double Science
GCSE A* to C / BTec Merit

GCSE A* to C / BTec / OCR Merit

(History, Ancient History, Geography or RE)
GCSE A* to C

Modern Foreign Language
GCSE A* to C, Applied GCSE A* to C, or other level 2 equivalent

Enterprise Skills
NCFE certificate

In addition to the Core, each 
Bac will contain another two subjects
GCSE / BTec / OCR or other level 2 equivalent qualification

Arts Bac

Two of Drama, Music, Dance, Art, or Performing Arts, plus Young Arts' Leader Award

Business Bac
Business Studies and additional ICT qualification

Classics Bac
Two of Latin, Greek and Ancient History

Health Bac
Childcare and Health & Social Care

Humanities Bac
Two of History, Ancient History, Geography, Leisure & Tourism

International Studies Bac
IGCSE in Global Perspectives plus additional MFL

Literary Bac
English Literature plus second MFL

Science Bac
Triple Science Award and Forensic Science

Sports Bac
BTEC Sports, plus two of Junior Sports Leader, Young Health Leader, D of E Awards.

Technology  Bac
Two of Product Design, Textiles, Electronics or Food Technology

We believe that our suite of Bacs has many advantages over the E-bac proposed by the Secretary of State.

  1. To gain our Bacs, you need to achieve 9 level two qualifications, as opposed to just 6 for the E-bac.  
  2. Although we are suggesting that the English, Maths and core Humanity should be a GCSE, there is the option to take more vocationally-oriented qualifications for the other subjects, according to students' learning styles and preferences.
  3. By insisting that BTec / OCR qualifications in the Core are at Merit level, we are ensuring that they are at at taken at a level at least as rigorous as a higher-level GCSE.
  4. We are ensuring that all students achieve a good qualification in ICT, which we would define as a core skill.
  5. We are ensuring that all students achieve a certificate in Enterprise, something we believe is essential for entering the workplace effectively.
  6. By giving the option of a level 2 equivalent for Modern Languages, we are giving students the option to study a more business-related curriculum.  We are also enabling students to study Mandarin (as many do at our academy) and still gain a Bac.  Under Mr. Gove's proposal, students taking Mandarin as their only language will be debarred from the E-bac. This is because the GCSE is aimed at native Mandarin speakers, in the same way that English GCSE is aimed at native English speakers.
  7. By including RE in the core, we are widening choice.  This is especially important for students in Church schools and academies such as our own, where all students take RE to GCSE level.  Indeed, under Mr. Gove's proposals, students in church schools will in effect have to take two humanities subjects to achieve the E-bac, thereby narrowing their choices.
  8. By including a range of other awards in the options (Sports, Health, Arts Leaders and Duke of Edinburgh), we are ensuring further breadth of experience.
In sum, we believe that our suite of Baccalaureates are rigorous, rounded and realistic.  We believe that they will prepare our students extremely well for both further study and employment.  We believe that they will cater well for students' varying interests, aptitudes and learning styles, and that as such, they are more likely to encourage our young people into further study Post-16.

We would welcome the comments of anyone with an interest in this.  In particular, we would welcome views as to whether or not we should also have a Bac accredited at Level 1.  At the moment, we have decided not to do this, on the grounds that it sets out to be a challenging qualification.  However, let us know if you disagree!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Thanks to all who have contacted me already in support of the idea, and for those who have made some helpful suggestions.  We will be publishing our proposals for an alternative suite of qualifications over the next few days, and would welcome your comments on the blog.

I am now on Twitter: ASAprincipal, and will also tweet notification of updates to the blog


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Day One

Having resisted the urge for many years to blog, twitter, facebook and generally engage with nu-media, I have finally found a worthwhile reason for doing so - supporting the wonderful students at Archbishop Sentamu Academy who, if the Government's current proposals for the English Baccalaureate are fully implemented, may start to feel that they are in some way "second-rate" in comparison to students from other schools who have been awarded the English Baccalaureate.  

My intention in starting this blog is not to pull apart the Government's case for the English Bac - many others have done so with great eloquence.  (For an excellent, forensic evaluation, see the ASCL response recently submitted to Mr. Gove). Rather, I hope to encourage professionals in education to lobby for a range of Baccalaureates to be accredited, so that all students can aspire to achieve a qualification which caters for their interests, passions, aptitudes and learning styles.  In so doing, I believe that we can continue to raise standards for all students.

Today, I have sent the following press release to all the major quality broadsheets, the TES, the BBC and our local newspaper:

"Archbishop Sentamu Academy deplores the narrow focus of the proposed English Baccalaureate. This reform has been rushed through, not thought through.  It is a straitjacket that will constrain student potential, rather than a structure which will promote broad achievement.  It caters for the interests of the Few, at the expense of recognising the achievements of the Many.

As an academy, we will therefore be developing our own range of baccalaureates, catering for our students’ individual and personal interests and aptitudes.

Each of our own baccalaureates will include a broader range of subjects than that which is offered through the government’s narrow choice.

Each will accredit vocational and enterprise skills, crucial for students entering the workplace.

Our young people will have a range of language qualifications available to them, not just GCSEs.

In short, our baccalaureates will be truly innovative.  We will of course include the government’s proposed English baccalaureate as one option.  However, we will ensure that the gifts and talents of all our young people are recognized, developed and celebrated, and in so doing, will give them the solid foundation they all need for further study and future employment."

I would therefore be interested in hearing from any professionals who would like to join us in the creation of a suite of baccalaureates which will achieve our aims, and support our students in the way they deserve.  

Because I am new to blogging, I have to admit I still don't know how it all works! I hope you can post a comment on the blog, but if you can't, then please email me on andrew.chubb1@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you

Andrew Chubb


Archbishop Sentamu Academy