Estelle Morris, the Education Secretary, indicated this week that she may go beyond proposals for a matriculation diploma. The diploma, based on GCSE and A-levels, has been criticised as a mishmash.
But ministers have made it clear that they are not considering the six-subject International Baccalaureat, which many believe is suitable for only the most able 20 per cent of pupils. A British or English bac, they say, would have to be more inclusive, with vocational as well as academic subjects.
George Dixon International School, in Birmingham, introduced the IB this September. The exam, which is internally assessed and externally monitored, involves pupils studying English, maths, a language, one science, a humanities subject and an arts component.
Headteacher Robert Dowling said: "Most of our pupils are from ethnic minorities and bring abilities and experiences that we didn't want to lose and that the IB makes the most of. It frees students from the A-level straitjacket."
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