Mr Gove, What’s with the rush to the EBacc, Sir?

Michael Gove will do well to listen to those urging him to think again about his proposed reforms to secondary examinations, writes the NUT's Christine Blower.

Christine Blower is the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT)

If the Secretary of State for Education is in listening mode in his Whitehall bunker he will do well to pay heed to the chorus of voices urging him to think again about his proposed reforms to secondary examinations.

Today’s Guardian reports sport governing bodies have come together to warn the reforms will marginalise school sports and threaten the legacy from the 2012 Olympic games.

At the weekend the same paper reported leading cultural figures had joined forces to warn of the dangers of marginalising arts in schools.

But what are the reforms that Mr Gove is seeking to rush through?

He wants to introduce an English Baccalaureate (EBacc). This would result in GCSEs in the EBacc subjects being replaced by English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBCs). The EBacc would consist of five core subjects – maths; English; sciences; a language; and history or geography.

The EBacc would not include any vocational education or arts subjects. There is understandable concern, therefore, that creative and vocational subjects of importance to the cultural and economic health of our nation would be treated as after thoughts.

The Department for Education’s consultation closed on December 10th. The fear is the consultation exercise was too limited and decisions to move ahead are being made with indecent haste. The National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Head Teachers decided to launch a petition on the matter.

It is quite reasonable for us to say that on an issue of such importance to young people’s futures there should be a full public debate involving parents and students, as well as the teaching profession and employers before any final decisions are made.

I hope you will take a minute to sign the petition here.

It has already been signed by three former secretaries of state for education, numerous other MPs and Peers as well as academics, members of the creative industries, and many other organisations and professional bodies. Please do add your name and help us ensure Mr Gove gets the message.

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