Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Pupils 'returning to core subjects'

Secondary school pupils are flocking back to core academic subjects most valued by universities and employers, according to new research.

The trend is being put down to the introduction of the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) - which is awarded to students who achieve a GCSE grade C or better in English, maths, a language, history or geography, and two sciences.

The EBacc was introduced as an additional measure in the performance tables published in January 2011.

New figures reveal how the EBacc is having an immediate impact in schools.

A survey of almost 700 maintained secondary schools by the National Centre for Social Research, for the Department for Education, shows that from September 2011, 33% of pupils taking GCSEs next year and 47% of pupils taking GCSEs in 2013 will be doing a combination of subjects that could lead to an EBacc.

This compares with data which shows that in 2010 just 22% of GCSE-stage pupils were entered for the EBacc.

The take-up of history, geography and languages indicates that the EBacc is reversing the long-term drift away from these subjects, and that they are bouncing back to the levels of a decade ago.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "Subjects such as physics, chemistry, history, geography, French and German give students the opportunity to succeed in every field.

"The numbers studying a proper range of rigorous subjects has been in decline. Now, thanks to our English Bacc, that has changed.

"More young people are now following the courses which the best colleges and top employers value. The Government is committed to raising standards for all children and ensuring every child has a proper rounded education."

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