English Baccalaureate

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Allen of Kensington Lord Allen of Kensington Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to introduce to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) a greater emphasis on STEAM subjects; and what consideration they have given to including qualifications in design to count towards the EBacc.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government has no plans to change the EBacc. It has been designed to be limited in size in order to allow pupils to continue to study additional subjects that reflect their individual interests and strengths. The subjects that make up the EBacc are based on the subjects which the Russell Group says at A level open more doors to more degrees at their universities. They provide a basis for a variety of careers beyond the age of 16. They give pupils a broad general knowledge that will enable them to participate in and contribute to society.

The government introduced the EBacc as a school performance measure in 2010 to encourage schools to enter more pupils for the core academic subjects of English, maths, science, history or geography and a language. Entries to the science component of the EBacc have increased from 63% in 2010 to 95% in 2018.

Under the new national curriculum, design and technology (D&T) remains a compulsory subject in all maintained schools during key stage 3, and schools are required to offer it at key stage 4. We have worked with organisations such as the James Dyson Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering to reform the D&T GCSE and curriculum. The new GCSE was first taught in September 2017. It is now a subject which has been updated from its craft-based routes to a cutting-edge qualification, focusing on iterative design processes which are at the core of contemporary practice.

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