The English Baccalaureate: what Norfolk’s heads think
The English Baccalaureate, which the government will include as a measure in next month's GCSE performance tables, is achieved if students get C grades or above in English, maths, double science, history or geography and a foreign language. Here are the percentages of students that would have achieved the 'bacc' at some Norfolk schools this year - and what their headteachers think of the qualification.
King Edward VII School, King's Lynn (15pc)
'I am unhappy with the speed of the introduction and the fact that it has been done retrospectively and some of the allowable subjects seem very narrowly defined. I feel that the results at the moment will say more about a school's option processes than anything about standards.' - Mike Douglass, headteacher.
Litcham High (no figures given)
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'The subject composition of the proposed English Baccalaureate (EB) has merit and is appropriate for many students. However, let us not neglect or give lower status to the creative and artistic subjects in which some students excel and many enjoy. Equally, physical education, personal, social and health education, which are essential to developing healthy and confident young people, citizens and future parents.' - Jeremy Nicholls, Litcham High.
Long Stratton High (21.5pc)
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'Our option system is driven by pupil choice. Many choose the subjects within the proposed English Baccalaureate but not all of them. It seems strange in the time of promised curriculum flexibility we may forced back to prescription for the students to do well in a league table.' - Paul Adams, headteacher.
Wayland High (no figures given)
'We have worked incredibly hard over the last two years to enable our young people to access a wide range of qualifications - academic and vocational - in all nearly 15 choices as well as science, English and maths, which they all undertake. It feels as though we cannot now give students a choice of courses that best suits their interests or strengths. Young people learn in many ways and a significant number will find that if they are forced to complete this then they will struggle to succeed.' - Michael Rose, headteacher.
Swaffham Hamond's High (11.5pc)
'Incentivising through performance tables will inevitably improve national performance in languages in future years and I assume that is the intention of the coalition and the need of the UK economy. I just hope, however, that the English Baccalaureate is not used as the key indicator of school performance or of improvement over time as the goalposts have shifted mid game.' - Stuart Bailey, headteacher.
Stalham High (28.44pc)
'Retrospective measures of a school's performance are not fair, and are not to be welcomed. However, Stalham High does comparatively well on this measure because it has retained a curriculum that offers real challenge for the most able students, and results for modern foreign languages were exceptionally high this year. The challenge now is to provide the rigour of traditionally academic subjects with the opportunities offered by a vocational curriculum and make both work well.' - Melinda Derry, headteacher.
Old Buckenham High (approximately 30pc)
'The curriculum at our school will be driven by the learning needs of our students and our moral purpose to educate our young people to help them become responsible, engaged individuals, leading happy successful lives. This will mean that we offer the full range of traditional academic subjects, vocational courses and practical learning opportunities for our students either in the workplace or at other schools and colleges.' - Peter Whear, headteacher.
Ormiston Victory Academy, Costessey (no figures given)
'We're committed to providing our students with the widest range of qualifications to suit their needs. We have a solid base for the Baccalaureate. We're committed to strengthening our modern foreign languages; science, our specialism, is very strong and supported by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital; humanities are thriving and English and maths have been transformed.' - Rachel de Souza, principal.
The Hewett School, Norwich (no figures given)
'Is a pupil who achieves A* grades in mathematics, English, physics, chemistry, biology, French, religious studies, ICT, music and English literature considered to be less well educated than a pupil who scrapes C grades in mathematics, English, science, French and geography but achieves D and E grades in their remaining subjects?' - Rob Anthony, associate headteacher.
Alderman Peel High, Wells (15pc)
'Using the English Baccalaureate as a performance indicator is a retrograde step in providing a personalised curriculum for students. It will force schools to make students study subjects where they may not have a particular strength or interest in or be relevant to the type of employment or further training they are interested in.' - Alastair Ogle, headteacher.
Wymondham College (60pc)
'Are we really saying that English students should be more rewarded for studying Latin and ancient history than engineering and ICT? And if so, what does it say about our aspirations and future of the country? Don't get me wrong, I'm fully in favour of teaching Latin, history and the rest - but this 'Bacc' feels peculiar in 2010.' - Melvyn Roffe, principal.
Taverham High (no figures given)
'Where was the consultation about the subjects included? Who decided that RE was not a humanities subject? How can the performance tables for 2010 include the EBac results when it didn't exist? We're nor even giving it the time of day. I won't have performance of this school judged on criteria not set.' - Ron Munson, headteacher.
City Academy Norwich (0pc)
'It's recognising success in such a narrow field. We think education should be about recognising the success of all our young people - who have different abilities. It may not be to speak a foreign language. Although we can understand what the government is trying to do, its implementation is flawed.' - David Brunton, principal.
Thorpe St Andrew School (20.1pc)
'It's a very strange measure to bring in at this point. It doesn't recognise the broad range of experiences students need.' -
Ian Clayton, headteacher.