Traditional subjects to be compulsory in shake up

Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire
Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire
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THE VAST majority of pupils who start secondary school this September will be expected to study all the traditional academic subjects which form the English Baccalaureate at GCSE.

In reforms being outlined today by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan students will take all the Ebacc subjects - English, maths, science, history or geography, and a language in their exams in 2020.

Only a “small minority” of pupils for whom the Ebacc “will not be appropriate” will not take the exams. Mrs Morgan will also confirm that the way GCSEs are graded is changing from the current A-U system to a nine-to-one scale.

A “good pass” - currently a C or higher - will be set at grade five under the reforms, which will be outlined in a speech in North London.

This is comparable to a low B or high C and “raises the bar for performance across the board”, the Department for Education said.

It is claimed this would bring the benchmark broadly in line with the performance in countries such as Finland, Canada, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Mrs Morgan said: “As part of this Government’s commitment to social justice we want every single person in the country to have access to the best opportunities Britain has to offer - starting with an excellent education. This means ensuring children study key subjects that provide them with the knowledge they need to reach their potential- while setting a higher bar at GCSE so young people, their parents and teachers can be sure that the grades they achieve will help them get on in life.

The Government has also appointed school behaviour guru Tom Bennett to draw up plans to help teachers address problems of “low level disruption” in classrooms which can lead to pupils losing up to an hour of learning time a day.

He will lead a new group to develop better training for teachers to tackle disruption caused by naughty children.

Mr Bennett said: “Behaviour has been the elephant in the classroom for too long, and the amount of learning time lost because of disruption is a tragedy.”