Monday, 28 February 2011

The English Baccalaureate

The English Baccalaureate may be a way for Michael Gove to try and recreate a non existent halcyon era.
A recent post from the RSA caused me to have a think about whether schools are working for their pupils best interests or asking pupils to work for their (the schools) best interests.

Originally, I responded to a David Perry post on Mirandanet. Daniel Needlestone suggested I repost my contribution.
The fundamental point being the well known piece of economics that when you try to measure an economic output with some measuring tool or other, the tool is compromised the minute that the measured become aware of the measure. (If you know what I mean.).

"Whatever you think of the EB (as it will no doubt become if it sticks around), it certainly should be the case that...

"The learning needs of students must come before the position of schools in a flawed league table."

It (putting learning needs first) has patently not been the case since the league tables started. The way in which whole cohorts of children have been and still are being manoeuvred into taking swathes of NVQ L2 qualifications based on the schools' need for league table positions and CVA points is, arguably, little short of a scandal.

Now, that may be a little contentious, but, if I am wrong about this, and schools have indeed just been putting students' needs first, then the relative numbers taking NVQ L2s rather than the EB subjects at GCSE will remain fixed as schools just continue to put their children's needs before their school's position in the tables.

As a side issue. The inclusion of MFL will be interesting for (at least) two reasons.

1) If schools have previously been putting "The learning needs of students before the position of schools in a flawed league" then obviously there will be no sudden clamour for MFL teachers as school reinstate MFL departments to their former prominence.

2) Since the previous government's removal of compulsion to study MFL was no doubt motivated by an equally strong motive (to put the learning needs of students  before the position of the government in a flawed league table). It  was surely just fortuitous that (the removal of MFL compulsion) had the side effect of fixing the shortage of MFL teachers virtually over night.

Brian L

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