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English Baccalaureate

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a school performance indicator linked to the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). It measures the percentage of students in a school who achieve 5+ 5-9 (formerly, A*-C) grades in traditional academic GCSE subjects (to include English, maths, a science, one of history or geography, an ancient or modern foreign language, and one additional GCSE-level qualification). Though the qualification contains the term baccalaureate, it is not, unlike the French baccalaureate (baccalauréat), a passport for entry into universities and tertiary education institutions such as the International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma Program). To gain access to universities in the United Kingdom and around the world, students are required to study and take exams for GCSEs and GCE Advanced Level or the International Baccalaureate which has increased in popularity in recent years[citation needed].


The UK Government introduced a new performance indicator called the English Baccalaureate, which measures the percentage of students in a school who achieve 5+ A*-C grades in English, mathematics, two sciences, a foreign language and history or geography at GCSE level.[1] The reason for its introduction was to combat the perceived fall in the number of students studying foreign languages and science.[2] The British Conservative Party declared that under their office, the UK government will make the English Baccalaureate a compulsory qualification to complete by students in secondary schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.[3]

Proposed English Baccalaureate Certificate qualificationEdit

The "English Baccalaureate Certificate" was a proposed exam system to complement the GCSE in England.

According to the Government, the (supposed) dumbing down of GCSEs was one of the motivating factors. The Government stated that it planned for the new qualifications to be more "rigorous", with exams to be taken at the end of the two-year course, rather than biannually as occurs under the modular GCSE system.[4][5][6] Chris Keates of union NASUWT criticised the announcement as being "entirely driven by political ideology".[7]

Northern Ireland Education Minister John O'Dowd criticised the UK Government for failing to consult the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales prior to the announcement, saying that he would announce his own proposals for the qualifications in Northern Ireland in due time.[8] Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews hinted that Wales might retain the current system,[9] with Roberto De Benedictis, divisional secretary of the Tawe Afan Nedd branch of the National Union of Teachers, praising the apparent reluctance of the Welsh government to participate in the new scheme.[10]

The announcement does not affect students in Scotland, which operates a separate system of qualifications from the rest of the United Kingdom.


  1. ^ "Statement of Intent 2010 - Addendum (The English Baccalaureate)" (PDF). Department for Education. December 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 December 2012.
  2. ^ Blake, Heidi (6 September 2010). "'English Baccalaureate' to combat drop in academic GCSEs". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  3. ^ Vaughan, Richard (14 April 2015). "Tories to make the EBac compulsory". TES Connect. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  4. ^ GCSEs axed in favour of 'English Baccalaureate Certificate', The Daily Telegraph, 17 September 2012
  5. ^ EBaccs to replace GCSE exam, says Michael Gove, The Independent, 17 September 2012
  6. ^ Michael Gove and Nick Clegg: A new exam will get the best out of all our children, Evening Standard, 17 September 2012
  7. ^ Teaching union chief says exam changes are 'entirely driven by political ideology', ITV News, 17 September 2012
  8. ^ O'Dowd critical of Gove move on GCSEs BBC News
  9. ^ GCSEs replaced by 'English Bac' in key subjects BBC News
  10. ^ Union urges measured decision on exam future This is South Wales