Heads hit out over Ofsted plans to look at EBacc targets

Heads union calls on inspectorate to drop plan to inspect whether schools plan to hit government EBacc targets

John Roberts

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A headteachers’ leader has criticised Ofsted’s plans to assess whether schools are preparing to meet the government’s goal of having 90 per cent of pupils taking the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Ofsted’s new draft inspection framework says inspectors should look at how schools are planning to meet the EBacc target, set for 2025, when judging their curriculum.

However, Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has warned that there are not enough foreign language teachers in the system to meet the government’s goal for the EBacc – which requires at least one language GCSE.

“It is nonsensical to judge schools on factors which are clearly outside their control and we will be pressing Ofsted to amend this section,” 

Ofsted’s draft inspection framework proposes that inspectors look at the EBacc as part of its assessment of a school's intent on the curriculum.

The EBacc is a school peformance measure that requires good GCSE grades in English language and literature, maths, the sciences, history or geography and a modern language.

It was created under former education secretary Michael Gove to encourage schools to teach core academic subjects.

In a draft of the new framework to be published today, Ofsted says: “At the heart of an effective key stage 4 curriculum is a strong academic core: the EBacc.

“The government’s response to its EBacc consultation confirmed that the large majority of pupils should be expected to study the EBacc.

"It is, therefore, the government’s ambition that 75 per cent of year 10 pupils in state-funded mainstream schools should be starting to study EBacc course nationally by 2022 ( taking examinations in 2024) rising to 90 per cent in 2025 ( taking their inspections by 2027.)

“It is important that inspectors understand what schools are doing to prepare for this to be achieved, and they should take those preparations into consideration when evaluating the intent of the school curriculum.”

But Mr Barton said: “Unfortunately, the inspectorate’s plan to judge a school’s curriculum partly on how well it is preparing to achieve the government’s ‘ambition’ of 90 per cent of pupils taking GCSEs in the EBacc suite of subjects is misconceived.

"This target is unachievable because there are nowhere near enough modern foreign language teachers in the system to teach that many pupils.”

Ofsted’s consultation on its new framework launches today and will last 12 weeks.



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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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