Ebacc squeezes out the subjects that most develop the skills employers demand

Commenting on the publication of the 2019 GCSE results today (22 August 2019), Chief Executive of the Edge Foundation, Alice Barnard, said,

Edge is delighted for all the students, parents and teachers celebrating exam results today and wishes students future success in whatever route they decide to take. 

From sixth form to FE college to an apprenticeship it is essential that all young people get the high quality impartial advice they need to choose between the many paths to success. This should include the opportunity to meet and work with different employers as part of a broad and rich school curriculum.

Sadly, this year’s figures show the continuing alarming trend of narrowing the curriculum driven by the government’s old fashioned EBacc measure. 

This year we have seen GCSE entries decrease further in design & technology (23%), drama (0.5%), media/ film/ TV studies (13%) and music (2 %).

Employers are consistently clear that the biggest drivers of success for young people are attitudes and attributes such as resilience, enthusiasm and creativity - data from LinkedIn in our latest Skills Shortages Bulletin suggests that creativity is the most in-demand ‘soft skill’ in short supply.

Yet the Ebacc is squeezing out exactly the subjects that most develop these skills, while the overwhelming focus on preparation for high stakes end-point exams leaves less and less time for developing skills such as teamwork and problem solving. 

What our young people need is a truly broad and balanced curriculum, linked directly to the real world and focused explicitly on developing the wide range of skills required to succeed in the twenty-first century.

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