EBacc subjects see spike in up-take


Take-up of history and science GCSEs is at its highest for 20 years as a result of the English Baccalaureate league table measure.

A snapshot survey has shown that 49 per cent of year 9 students are now choosing a full set of EBacc subjects for GCSE, compared to 22 per cent in 2010.

The findings are not surprising given the importance that the government has placed on its EBacc measure. Ministers this week heralded the end to a “damaging drift” away from the EBacc subjects.

Individually, the study of 600 teachers in state-maintained schools found a 13 per cent increase in those taking double science GCSE, from 46 to 59 per cent, while language GCSEs are up 11 points, from 43 to 54 per cent.

Both history and geography have risen by 10 points to 41 and 36 per cent respectively.

It means that 93 per cent of students will sit either double or triple science GCSEs in 2014, the highest level for 20 years.

History take-up is also at a 20-year high, while languages is at its highest proportion since 2005.

However, the spike in EBacc subjects has come at a cost as schools shun subjects such as RE and the arts. 

Last week, SecEd reported that a third of schools are now thought not to be meeting the legal requirement to deliver RE at key stage 4 while six in 10 schools have reported a drop in full course RE GCSE entries. Art and design GCSE has also seen a 16 per cent drop since 2006.

Education minister Elizabeth Truss described the EBacc figures as proof of a “spectacular reversal” in the decline of the subjects.

She said: “The EBacc is the platform for young people to go on to A levels and high-quality vocational study and is helping us compete with leading nations like Canada and Germany who expect all students to study a rigorous academic core.”


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