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Schools to introduce Labour's national baccalaureate

Headteachers are looking at introducing Labour’s proposed school leavers’ qualification, the national baccalaureate, regardless of whether the party wins the next general election.

Earlier this year, Labour announced plans for pupils to choose between either a technical baccalaureate or an academic one based on existing vocational qualifications and A-levels.

Students will also be expected to study English and maths up to the age of 18 and carry out an extended project as well as skills training, such as taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. 

The certificate is to be offered by a number of schools across the country after Tom Sherrington, head of Highbury Grove School in north London, decided to introduce the National Baccalaureate in his own school.

The certificate is closely aligned to the International Baccalaureate, which demands students study a broad range of subjects as well as taking part in a project-led assignment.

The coalition announced the creation of a technical baccalaureate last year, which provides students studying vocational subjects a "high-quality alternative to the A-level route". The Tech Bacc was introduced for courses in September and will be used a performance measure in league tables in 2016.  

Mr Sherrington, who blogs under the name headguruteacher, was part of Labour’s skills taskforce and helped draw up the plans for a leaving certificate for the party.

He said the decision to push for a national baccalaureate to be introduced came as a reaction to the government’s English baccalaureate, which he felt had too narrow a focus.

“I’ve always had this feeling of frustration that [former education secretary] Michael Gove was using the phrase baccalaureate to describe a collection of five GCSEs, and I always thought, ‘That’s not a baccalaureate, you’ve ruined the entire concept,” Mr Sherrington said.

Having helped the Labour party form the initial policy, he felt it would have been a shame for the good work to be lost and believed it would give school leavers a more rounded qualification.

“It would be something that they could show to an employer or a university that would show they have had a holistic education that was also demanding,” he added.

Mr Sherrington held a conference last month at his school bringing together headteachers, exam boards and government officials to discuss how the different baccalaureates schools offer could work alongside the national baccalaureate.

Related stories: 

Replace A levels with a broader baccalaureate, say business chiefs and academics - 27 January 2014

'It's time for a proper baccalaureate, not English and maths bolted on to A-levels' - 19 August 2014

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