Bac backs history but makes a martyr of RE

21st January 2011 at 00:00

Last week's TES ("AWOL exam", January 14) reported that the Government had put a non-existent GCSE in its English Baccalaureate. The Department for Education's response to the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference's discovery is risible.

While it is true that "some pupils take GCSEs in a single year", page 31 of OCR's ancient history specification says that "GCSE certification is available from June 2011".

OCR's own published results show that not a single pupil sat or obtained this qualification last summer. In contrast, some 4,463 candidates (3,564 with OCR and 899 with AQA) were awarded GCSEs in classical civilisation. Not one of these was eligible for the EBac.

Such a lack of attention to detail by DfE officials ought to worry ministers. They, in turn, ought to be concerned by the almost universally critical response of teachers and headteachers to the EBac in its current form. If ever there was a case for going "Bac" to the drawing board, this is it.

Geoff Lucas, General secretary, Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today