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English Baccalaureate

Written Evidence Submitted by Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School

New inquiry: The English Baccalaureate

1. Executive summary

 

1.1. If E-Bac is to be adopted, it is vitally important that the correct choice of core subjects is chosen. Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar school strongly feel that RS should be one of the available options in line with History and Geography.

2. Introduction

 

2.1. Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar have in the past seen the benefits of the full IB course structure. It is felt that the E-Bac does not give such a rich or rewarding experience to the students.

3. The purpose and benefits of the E-Bac and its value as a measure of pupil and school performance

 

3.1. We feel that forcing all students to take all E-Bac subjects would not always cater for the needs of the individual. Students not wishing to take one of the subjects not only lose the chance of getting the E-Bac certificate but also automatically lower the school’s performance rating. School policy would probably need to be amended to not allow this.

4. The choice of subjects included in the E-Bac

 

4.1. Currently the required subjects for the E-Bac are: English, Mathematics, Science, MFL, History /Geography. We feel that this is the correct range of subjects, but strongly feel that RS should also be included as an option alongside History and Geography.

4.2. In a recent conference for A-level students delivered by Dr Peter Vardy of Heythrop College, he called the students to support their subject, to write to their MPs and to raise awareness of the impending threat of the English Baccalaureate to the subject of RS. Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School would like to echo these sentiments.

4.3. At Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar, all students currently take the full course RS, and more specifically, the Philosophy and Applied Ethics course. Aside from contributing to the school’s ethos by encouraging a culture of responsibility, tolerance and developing the student’s thinking skills, the GCSE course forms the foundation for a very popular A-level course.

4.4. The concern is that by omitting RS from the English Baccalaureate, schools will be forced to reconsider promoting RS as a choice at GCSE or indeed scrap it altogether. As a consequence, fewer students will be attracted to the academically rigorous and challenging course of A-level Philosophy and Ethics and overall, the Humanities faculty will lose its diversity and richness.

4.5. From law to medicine, Philosophy and Ethics has a profound role to play in piquing student’s interests in embarking on such distinguished careers and lends the skills in critical analysis, argument and evaluation that are valued in many more fields.

4.6. It is the view of the school that RS ought to be included in the English Baccalaureate for the reasons outlined above.

4.7. 26% of the GCSE students do not currently study History or Geography but 100% of the students sit the RS GCSE examination.

5. The implications of the E-Bac for pupils, schools and employers

 

5.1. Pupils will be encouraged to study a stem of subjects that they can then use to further develop at A level or for studying the International Baccalaureate. It will also ensure that students have and good general knowledge that they can transfer into the job market.

 

6. International comparators for the E-Bac

 

6.1. The International Baccalaureate Middle years program is the first step towards the International Baccalaureate. It is based around detailed academic study of a wide range of subjects, including languages, the arts, science, maths, history and geography.

6.2. It is designed to encourage pupils to: learn how to learn, ask challenging questions, develop a strong sense of your own identity and culture, develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.

23rd March 2011

Prepared 26th May 2011