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!

1 comment:

  1. The EBacc is meant to be an academic qualification, which reveals the schools who fail their pupils in order to push themselves up the league tables (by getting their students to do easier BTECs which are 'equivalent' to multiple GCSEs).

    If you include a science BTEC and level 2 language qualifications in your plan, then this won't happen at all, and pupils will still be failed. Schools will scrap triple science (the few that still offer it!), and probably even encourage talented scientists to do a BTEC instead of double science gcses.

    How are students meant to take A-Level sciences or do a science/engineering degree after that?! The number of state school (especially deprived school) pupils with the right qualifications to apply to top universities is already very low, and this would just decrease that number even further.

    Yes, not everyone wants to go to Oxbridge, but there are currently students with the potential to go who don't realise until too late that their school has ruined their chances of them going to those universities just so the school can rise up the league tables.

    There's no shame in students who are more practically-talented not getting the EBacc, but there is a huge shame in schools switching pupils to dance, combined humanities and PE GCSEs if those pupils want to go on and do History, language or Economics degrees.

    (And with regards to ICT, students don't need a GCSE in it for Computing degrees, let alone to be able to use MS Word and Powerpoint well, so I really don't think that it should be compulsory. Minimising students' choice isn't going to make them more engaged with their education)