The English Baccalaureate is not a qualification in itself but it recognises pupils who have secured a GCSE at a grade 5 or better across a core of academic subjects – English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences and a language. The English Baccalaureate is intended to give pupils greater opportunity to study in and beyond the vital core of English, mathematics and the sciences and thus equips students with an important range of knowledge and skills.
While students may not have decided on their future career path yet, choosing the EBacc at GCSE gives them access to a full range of employment options when they leave secondary school and the broad knowledge that employers are looking for. Studying the EBacc suite of subjects ensures that all students have the opportunity to study a broad core of subjects, ensuring that doors are not closed off to them in terms of future progression. If they are thinking of going to university, the EBacc is also recommended by Britain’s most prestigious universities. The Russell Group guide on making informed choices for post-16 education identifies ‘facilitating subjects’ at A-Level. ‘Facilitating subjects’ are the subjects most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and ones that will keep the most options open. The subjects they identify are those included in the English Baccalaureate. In view of this, the Academy feels that it is important to encourage students to pursue the EBacc.
The study of a language is an important part of EBacc. Studying a foreign language can be extremely rewarding and exciting because it provides an insight into other cultures and can open the door to travel and employment opportunities. Languages can also broaden pupils’ horizons, helping them flourish in new environments. If a student finds languages difficult, they shouldn’t forget that they will have been studying them for much less time than their other subjects and, while it can be a challenge, learning a language will greatly enhance their future opportunities. What’s more, we know that employers value languages, as they are increasingly important to make sure we can compete in the global market. Because of this, languages are increasingly becoming a requirement for many graduate schemes.