Poll says majority of head teachers oppose making EBacc subjects compulsory

Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
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THE majority of headteachers and school leaders are against a government move which will require all teenagers to take GCSEs in traditional academic subjects, according to a new poll.

It suggests that the vast majority of school leaders are concerned that the reforms will not suit every pupil and could mean less time for more creative subjects.

Under the change, children starting secondary school in England from next month will have to study English, maths, science, history or geography and a language at GCSE – the subjects included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure. Ministers have said that this will ensure that pupils get a rigorous academic education, which will help them to succeed later in life.

But a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), found that many heads oppose the move.

Around 87 per cent of the almost 1,000 members questioned last month said they disagree with the reform, while around 10 per cent support it.

Of those opposed, 81 per cent said that the range of subjects required is too inflexible; around 86 per cent said it will leave less room for creative or vocational subjects; around 97 per cent said it does not suit every pupil; and 58 per cent said the change is an unfair performance measure on schools.

Almost three quarters of those (74 per cent) who said they had concerns agreed that more flexibility in the choice of subjects would make them more inclined to support it.

They survey also found that nearly three in four (74 per cent) of school leaders said their school does not have enough teachers for the EBacc subjects, with languages causing the most difficulties. ASCL deputy general secretary Malcolm Trobe said: “We understand that ministers intend to consult widely during the autumn over their plan for compulsory EBacc, and we are very pleased that they are doing so. We hope that this will lead to them building more flexibility into this system.

“It is clear from our survey that the vast majority of school leaders are concerned that the current proposals are too rigid and will restrict their ability to offer a curriculum which suits the needs of all their pupils.”