Two petitions against the English Baccalaureate reforms have amassed more than 72,000 signatures between them.
More than 29,000 people have signed a petition calling for a more in-depth consultation over proposed English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC) exam reforms.
Meanwhile, more than 43,300 have now signed a separate petition calling for the Education Select Committee to hold an inquiry into the lack of creative and cultural subjects in the EBacc.
It comes in a week when a letter signed by 100 cultural, business, sporting and education organisations was handed in at 10 Downing Street voicing concerns over the speed with which the government is pushing through the EBC reforms.
Also this week, research by the NASUWT found that timetabled time has been reduced and specialist teachers laid-off across the range of non-English Baccalaureate subjects. To read more about this research, click here.
Last September, Mr Gove confirmed that EBCs in the core subjects are to be rolled out in 2015 with first exams in 2017. Courses in other EBacc subjects – history, geography and languages – will follow.
The qualifications, which will feature terminal exams, will replace GCSEs and a consultation on the plans came to an end on December 10.
The letter, produced by education unions alongside the Bacc for the Future campaign, asks for a meeting with the prime minister and his deputy to discuss concerns about the speed of the reforms.
It calls on the consultation period to be extended “in both time and content” in order to address the concerns.
The letter states: “We are concerned that the current consultation on the introduction of English Baccalaureate Certificates is too limited and that decisions are being made too quickly.
“We need an examination system which ensures pupils receive a rigorous, broad and balanced curriculum. We do not believe the current proposals for EBCs will do that. By failing to give parity to high quality creative and vocational subjects, as well as sport, these reforms will jeopardise our children’s education and undermine the economic and cultural health of our nation.”
Signatories to the letter include the National Portrait Gallery, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal College of Art, the Royal Philharmonic Society, the Association for Science Education, and the National Governors Association.
The letter was handed in to Downing Street by Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and co-ordinator of the “Bacc for the Future” campaign, alongside Joe Macleod, from the Include Design campaign. Both campaigns are fighting for the creative and cultural subjects to be included in the EBacc. Alongside them were Marilyn Harrop, president of the National Union of Teachers, and Kathryn James, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers.
Ms Annetts said: “As they stand, these proposals will undermine our world leading education system and our world leading creative industries. The creative sector wants the government to slow down and think carefully about the way forward. Whether it is called a GCSE or EBC, we need to ensure that there is one type of qualification, and not a two-tier system which treats creative subjects as second class.”
To sign the petition over the EBC reforms and consultation, visit www.ebaccpetition.org.uk and to sign the general EBacc petition, go to www.baccforthefuture.com. For the Include Design campaign, visit http://includedesign.org/ CAPTION: Special delivery: (from left) Joe Macleod, Kathryn James, Marilyn Harrop and Deborah Annetts hand in the letter at 10 Downing Street on behalf of more than 100 signatories