League tables published today showed that fewer than one in six pupils who sat GCSE exams last year, managed to achieve the English Baccalaureate standard.
Only pupils who score A* to C grades in five core subjects of English, Maths, Science, one language and Geography or History, achieve the certificate. Figures showed that only 15.6% of pupils accomplished this.
The measure was introduced last year by education secretary Michael Gove, and was supposed to address the decline in pupils taking core subjects such as Maths. This is therefore the first time it has been included in the league tables.
Overall the tables showed an improvement in GCSE results at 69% of state schools, however those schools that did not meet the Governments target of 35% are now seen as underperforming. This could potentially see these schools taken over or turned into academies.
Director general of the Institute of Directors, Mike Templeman has said that these results are worrying and that more needs to be done to make sure that results improve across the board.
However there has been much outrage from headteachers, who maintain that the baccalaureate measure has been included in the tables given that it was only officially introduced two months ago.
The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Brian Lightman has said that “moving goalposts” was unfair to the pupils and very unhelpful for the teachers.
“The English Bac shows how many students have taken a specific combination of subjects,” he said. “It says nothing about the range of courses on offer, the suitability of the curriculum for the students in that school or overall achievement.”
Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School in Salisbury topped the tables for the Bac, with 98% of their pupils managing to achieve the necessary grades. Headteacher Stuart Smallwood said he thought the government was right to introduce the Baccalaureate, but did not agreed with the timing of it.
The tables can be seen in full at