Thank you for taking the time to respond in such detail. I will try to reply to your points in turn:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We have offered Triple Science for a long time, and will continue to do so for our suite of baccalaureates.
- It is our view that all properly accredited subjects have value for students.
- 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.
- Our requirement to achieve 9, rather than 6, qualifications to gain one of our baccalaureates;
- That RE should count as a core Humanity and;
- 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