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 Post subject: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:39 am
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For the last couple of years schools have been encouraged to measure the number of students achieving above a C grade in English, Maths, a modern foreign language, and a science. This is called the English baccalaureate. Many schools are publishing this information such as NonSuch and HBS so that you can see that children are passing a broad broad range of Gcse's but some of the boy's schools are not giving this data.

My interest was pricked by reading an article in Inside Croydon that said Whitgift had only a 41% pass rate for the Eebac. It said results were particularly weak in languages and to a lesser extent humanities. This makes me wonder if the school has a deliberate policy of steering boys away from those areas that, they feel, won't see them achieve perfect scores, and consequently making them appear successful, whereas actually they are being constricted by having their focus narrowed. For instance by not being allowed to do a foreign language because they won't get an A/A*.

I have tried looking on a few boy school gcse results web pages, and I didn't find them advertising this eebac mark unlike girl's schools. For me it is kind of off putting that boys might be funnelled too much into certain subject areas to the neglect of others. I am apprehensive of a school, for my son, that is just a hang-out for nerdy maths/science students to the exclusion of broader qualifications and personality.

It appears possible to have girls achieve this- why not boys?


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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The Ebacc is not a qualification it is just an artificial measure - many people regard it as flawed.

It does not count RE as a Humanity nor does it count Technology or any arts subjects such as music.

It might be useful to have a modern foreign language GCSE but the Ebacc counts Ancient Greek as a language.

I think it's important that students study a broader range of subjects than the Ebacc.

[Btw it was invented by Mr Gove in August 2010 to measure the results of the cohort that had just got their results - which was rather pointless]


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:24 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
Ladymuck is our resident expert on Whitgift.

Ebac is a DofE measure and do not include igcse, that may be one explanation amongst others.

Ebac is going out of favour recently, it's more of an aspirational measure for low attaining schools to facilitate more of their students to gain entry to RG universities.I think Whitgift have a good number of their students going to RG unis so is not really an issue for them.

Whitgift did rather well in The Times ranking this year,if that's any consolation.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:04 pm 
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Well, first off I wouldn't trust ANYTHING that Inside Croydon publishes on Whitgift or any other independent school. The website is run by members of the local Labour Party who tend to be aggrieved with anything associated with the Whitgift foundation. The article in question refers to 2012 results, where Ebacc results were first complied by the looks of it.

The comments in terms of Whitgift being weak on languages astound me. Languages are an exceptional strength at Whitgift where boys in the Lower school are offered a bilingual option (well basically it is on offer to the top sets obviously) so that they have all of their humanities lessons in the their MFL. Not only does every boy have to sit a GCSE/iGCSE in a MFL, but again the top sets will sit a separate qualification in the home country of the relevant language.

As well as the bilingual option these is also a specific Section Française which is designed for pupils who are native, or near-native, speakers of French. The pupils follow a tailor-made programme, which aims to replicate the kind of tuition they would be receiving if they were at school in France. Pupils follow the normal Whitgift curriculum (in English) in their other subjects. This prepares pupils for the bilingual International Baccalaureate, which adds an extra dimension to an already highly-prized international qualification.

The school has an impressive foreign exchange program too.

So, why might boys not achieve the Ebacc? Well, firstly the Ebacc is not a measure for the child, it is a measure for the school, and as an independent school, Whitgift and similar aren't that interested - they want to prepare their boys for university and beyond, and so far Ebacc isn't used as a criteria by either universities or employers. So where Whitgift may fall down is in respect of the humanities requirements. In order to achieve the Ebacc a pupil must sit either Geography or History. Whitgift and many other similar schools would view RS or Philosophy and Ethics to be a suitable humanity (and it is often favoured by those looking to do law). So you will find pupils, including my own son, who are not studying either Geography or History but instead are studying Philosophy or similar for GCSE.

Whitgift again is unusual in that it offers at 6th form the international Bacculaureate alongside A levels, which I would view as a broader qualification (which includes a language off the top of my head).

To be honest, one of the reasons I have opted for the independent sector is that they don't have to jump to the government's tune. So my year 10 son is not one of those faced with having to do the "new" GCSEs in Maths and English where there aren't even decent textbooks yet for the 1-9 syllabus. So I can't imagine many independent schools trying to push Ebacc as it doesn't seem to be valued by universities or employers as far as I can see.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:31 pm 
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Location: Reading
At DDs school all have to take at least one of RS, history or geography. Anyone just taking RS isn't going to get the EBacc.

No one can convince me that that is a good thing. In our case DD has only wants to take geography so it is a mute point, but if she changes her mind in the next couple of months and wanted to do just RS, I personally wouldn't bat an eyelid. EBacc is meaningless, except for some league tables.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
I have a rather begrudging respect for Whitgift (despite it's peacocks [ don't you just want to get your double-barrel shotgun out] and it's ridiculous pomposity)

It has good bursary provision for the poorest and it not too hung up on everyone doing A levels but allows BTEC to their less academic students.

In my DS indie unless you are more or less straight A/A* at igcse you ain't getting into sixth-form.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:45 pm 
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Does Whitgift still get less academic sports pupils to sit exams outside of school so the results don't appear in their statistics? I can think of one person that gained entry in the last year or so that will have done so through their sporting abilities and not their academic ability.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:10 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
J50 wrote:
Does Whitgift still get less academic sports pupils to sit exams outside of school so the results don't appear in their statistics? I can think of one person that gained entry in the last year or so that will have done so through their sporting abilities and not their academic ability.


come on Ladymuck, we are all waiting with bated breath here!

You were as quick as ---- off a shovel before!

I still think it is good school though, it would be even higher in my estimation if they could get rid of their silly scholarships and re-invest that money into more means tested bursaries and waive their entrance exam fees for PP candidates.


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:39 am
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Thanks for the comprehensive response. I was aware that Inside Croydon is a bit of a left-wing soap box, but the Whitgift Ebac percentage was nevertheless surprisingly low. It seems to me that Ebac is a good measure of the effectiveness and breadth of the teaching within the school.

HBS is quite clear in its published statistics that it has a 100% Ebac compliance for last year. HBS is a stellar school - so why would they believe that there is a value to providing that information to the public, but others don't?


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 Post subject: Re: The Eebac
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11942
Quote:
It seems to me that Ebac is a good measure of the effectiveness and breadth of the teaching within the school.


It isn't though ... it is a very narrow measure.


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