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Has the ebac had an influence on students' attitudes to languages?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by mlapworth, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    In spite of my initial optimism at the time that the ebac idea was first announced, I have to say that it doesn't look
    as if things will be anywhere near as positive as I had hoped...
    govt's position that the ebac is just one of many measures - just an
    additional measure, rather than the one they want business and higher
    education to focus on, - and the fact that they don't seem willing to
    look at all sides of the issue, means that:
    - schools are forcing
    more kids to do MFL because their fear is that it will be seen as the
    main way of judging schools' performance
    - universities and employers aren't particularly bothered by the ebac
    - consequently, there isn't really much in it for students
    so, many students will be forced to do a language because of school
    policy, but they won't feel that it's of benefit to them, becasue it
    isn't valued beyond their own school
    It could have all been so much better...
    ebac will be used primarily as a way for middle class parents to decide
    whether a school is 'suitable', enabling them to choose between schools
    that get 'proper' results and those that get Mickey Mouse results.
    What do you think?
  2. I agree with you.
    It may push numbers up creating a more comprehensive cohort which may reduce "severe grading".
    I am pushing it as much as possible. The more momentum it gets the better.
    I definitely agree that informed parenst will use to differentiate bewteen schools - i know I am for my own children

  3. I think it is too early to say that universities/employers aen't interested in the ebac and that it lacks value. I think it will gain momentum and the first real reporting isn't I think expected until 2013, even if it is already being included in league tables. I think it is right, in any case, to steer students capable of doing them, in the direction of more challenging subjects. Whether it is labelled ebac or not, it will always be preferable for students to present a good set of passes in academic subjects. It is no coincidence that the ebac suite of subjects consists of those which have and will always stand the test of time in providing a well-rounded education for adulthood. In my school - a large inner-city comprehensive with 50% FSM but some very able students - we have seen a refreshing move away from some inappropriate courses which did not challenge students. It is right that our students have the opportunity to succeed at the highest levels in subjects that their peers in more affluent/grammar/independent schools have always done as a matter of course. While no natural Tory supporter, that is why I deny the charge that ebac is elitist - rather, I think, it forces schools to level the playing field and it therefore becomes meritocratic. I am HOD Languauges and we now have 40% take up of languages at GCSE - the highest ever. None were forced and some very able decided not to do ebac, preferring a usual hodge-podge of options. But the take up I think speaks for itself.
  4. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    gmjhome - completely agree!
  5. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    it has made absolutely no difference to us as our SLT do not push EBACC
  6. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    Yes, that's another predictable consequence of introducing it in this half-*rsed way...
    I said all along that for it to be effective it had to have value beyond school - ie. it needed to be seen as important by universities, employers etc. I don't think it will be seen in this light because so many schools feel there's no need to pursue it, as it's just an extra measure of school performance, rather than the main one. And if it's not valued beyond school, schools and students are less inclined to see it as important. It's a kind of vicious circle.
    The trouble is, employers and unis would never have accepted it as the main measure of a school's performance simply because it was too black and white: the ebac being a binary / black or white / all or nothing award, rather than a genuine graded qualification which added more weight to certain qualifications than to others, meant that you could have a student scraping an ebac and therefore being seen as a 'better' student than someone who got loads of A*s and As but got a D in French (and therefore, in ebac terms, a failure).
  7. Henriette - completely the opposite with us, basically they are pushed into it and some pupils seem to be of the opinion that the EBacc is a cert.
  8. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    Our cohort has become slightly bigger as a result, but it was already too late as the pupils had made their decisions, when the new government changed tack. The cohort will grow more next year too - I'm happy, but not looking forward to having large GCSE groups - I guess I can't complain too much!! By the way, historically, we have had a group of German and a group of French, each containing around 15 pupils. German has currently gone up slightyly, French has doubled.

  9. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Interesting that unions are having a whinge about the possible job losses in the other subjects outside the ebacc. While I agree that the country needs designers, builders, engineers and economists, I don't remember those very same unions doing anything about the job losses amongst historians, geographers and linguists when our subjects were removed from core.
  10. You seem to be suggesting that doing ebac will preclude students becoming designers, builders, engineers etc.
    All these careers need En, Ma and particularly Science, then useful general subjects. They don't need specialist training at a young age. I have a joint. Economics/French degree and the only social science I did at school was Geog. and Hist. Specialist training at school like BTEC vocational is also fairly worthless for many - it's pretend and has only ever been about league tables. Colleges and workplaces make kids start again anyway.
  11. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    It is a very interesting question as there are definite negatives to the ebac. I will tell you the score in my school which is an 11-18 comprehensive in a city which has 4 grammar schools and a high achieving faith school. We kept languages for all up until last years' year 11 where only 30 students opted for languages, despite the fact that French had the best results in the school from a virtually 100% entry( a few kids such as the deaf were exempt). We actually got 100% A*-B last year from the 30. THis year we only have 23 in year 11 but 50 in year 10 (no ebac influence here). However, we also have 75 students in year 10 who were forced to do French for ebac purposes in a year on 1x 50 minute lesson per week. Needless to say the first controlled speaking task has not gone well! I find this unacceptable and we as a department are fed up with the situation. At least we have persuaded SLT that this cannot happen again next year!

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