Heads react cautiously to Michael Gove’s plans for an English Baccalaureate Certificate

‘The devil is in the detail’ – heads react to EBC

Date: 19th September 2012

Author: Dorothy Lepkowska

Theme: Curriculum, Education Policy, Exams and Assessment, Leadership, Teacher

Subject: English, Humanities, Languages, Mathematics, Science, STEM

Tags: English Baccalaureate, English Baccalaureate Certificate, GCSE grading, GCSEs

Heads have reacted cautiously to Michael Gove’s plans for an English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC) to replace GCSEs as England’s key qualification for 16-year-olds.

Under the proposals, pupils of all abilities will take the new qualifications, which the education secretary has said will be more rigorous and demanding. After months of speculation, Mr Gove delivered a statement to Parliament late on Monday (September 17) detailing the changes.

EBCs in the core subjects will be rolled out in 2015 with first exams in 2017. Courses in other EBacc subjects – history, geography and languages – will follow.

The new EBCs will feature one end-of-course exam, although Mr Gove said that “where individual practical work needs to be assessed we will be flexible”.

The proposals will also see one exam board delivering each subject, a move designed to stop competition between awarding bodies. Mr Gove has invited exam boards to offer “wholly new qualifications”.

Mr Gove will also ask exams regulator Ofqual to consider how the EBCs can be used “as a template for judging and accrediting a new suite of qualifications beyond these subjects to replace current GCSEs”.

He told Parliament that GCSEs had been designed “for a different age and a different world” and that we needed to emulate the most successful academic nations. He said EBCs would be “competitive with the best in the world”.

Heads this week said they need to see more details before judging the full implications but welcomed the commitment to consultation.

Ian Bauckham, head of Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Kent, said that on the surface the plans appeared “aspirational and visionary”. However, he warned: “The devil is in the detail and it is essential that Mr Gove’s aspirations are translated into an examination which does promote deep learning, high aspiration and real success for all students.”

One concern is the return to terminal exams, which school leaders say will disadvantage many students. Joan McVittie, head of Woodside High School in London, said: “As somebody who sat O levels I would hate to see a return to the one with the best memory getting the top grade. So we must ensure that the new exams test knowledge skills and application.”

Jacques Szemalikowski, head of Hampstead School, also in London, agreed: “Different children learn in different ways and require assessment regimes that reflect this. By assessing and valuing only one type, Mr Gove is limiting aspiration to a very narrow band.”

Mr Bauckham added: “While we are looking to some of the fast-growing Far Eastern economies for lessons on education, they are grappling with excessively high stakes examinations which are bad for child mental health and which can stifle creativity, essential for innovation and economic growth.”

The move is a huge change for England’s exam boards and Mr Gove said that Ofqual will assess applications for each subject. He said: “The winner will be the board which offers the course which best meets the criteria, benchmarked to the world’s best, informed by academic expertise and capable of both recognising exceptional performance and allowing the overwhelming majority of students to have their work recognised and graded fairly.”

Andrew Chubb, principal of Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull, called for the new exams to be “criterion-referenced”. He also warned: “Academic exams alone will not give us what we need – or at least what employers and universities say we need.”

Mike Griffiths, head of Northampton School for Boys, said: “I welcome the debate on what should be in a curriculum suited to the 21st century that will make our system and students ‘world class’, and the government’s proposal to keep a single system, and not to fragment into two or more levels – although I am interested to see how papers can be set appropriate to the whole ability range.”

Chris Dunne, head of Langdon Park School, in London, pointed out that the plans didn’t match up to Mr Gove’s ambition to emulate the world’s best education systems. He said: “Finland not only tests students far less often than the UK, but along with teacher assessment it places a very strong emphasis on modular assessment after each semester rather than end-of-course examination – the very opposite of what Mr Gove says he intends to establish.”

Glenys Stacey, chief regulator at Ofqual, said they would “advise government on the timetable for change and say if it is not achievable or if the risks to standards or delivery are unacceptable”. She added: “We will wish to identify the delivery pressure points in the reform of GCSEs and intervene if we need to in order to manage any unacceptable risks.”

Mr Gove said that his plans would mean a reform of league tables and that they would “consult widely” on what could replace them.

The changes are currently for England only.

Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to decide whether to follow suit.

Welsh education minister Andrew Davidson has said this week that a split away from England is likely.

The English Bacc reforms

GCSEs to be replaced with the English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC).

The EBC will feature a single end-of-course exam lasting up to three hours.

Candidates will be awarded marks for good spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Following consultation, first teaching of the new EBCs in English, maths and science will be in 2015 with the first exams to be taken in 2017.

EBCs in the other EBacc subjects will follow – history, geography and languages.

Students failing to get the EBacc at 16 will have a “detailed record of achievement in each curriculum area” to help them progress subsequently.

The EBCs may be taken up to the age of 18, to allow students to catch up.

There will be one exam board designing the syllabus for each of the EBC subjects.

Eventually, candidates will be deemed to have achieved the EBacc when they have passed six academic subjects.

Ofqual will advise on how the EBCs can be used as a template for new qualifications to replace other GCSEs beyond the EBacc subjects.

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La Desconferencia

La Desconferencia: EdCamp Santiago
(Spanish Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Soy un maestro. Soy el más afortunado de todos quienes trabajan. A un médico se le permite traer una vida en un momento mágico. A mí se me permite que esa vida renazca día a a día con nuevas preguntas, ideas y amistades.

EdCamp Santiago es la desconferencia. Entrada gratuita, desarrollo profesional, por profesores, para profesores. Compartir en vez de competir, aprendizaje entre pares. Participantes comparten y intercambian sus mejores prácticas pedagógicas: “Best Practices”.

Product Details
File Size: 676 KB
Print Length: 107 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: Spanish
ASIN: B008302H4G

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La Desconferencia: EdCamp Santiago (Volume 2) [Paperback]

Product Details
Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (May 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477467734
ISBN-13: 978-1477467732

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces

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Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

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My Dear Friend: Welcome to Chile (Essays from a Teacher in Chile) [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: February 19, 2012
My Dear Friend, Welcome to Chile.

This book shares the personal sentiment of its author, an expat, after having lived the past ten years in Chile. He says:

“I live in Chile, the most beautiful country in the world.”

He continues: “As I say these words, I want you to know that I come from the United States of America, a country that stretches from sea to shining sea, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The USA is indeed a magnificent country, but it isn’t Chile…”

http://amzn.to/PNd5Wx

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EdCamp Santiago: The First Seven Days [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: March 4, 2012
Dedicated to all the educators, world-wide, who have participated in an EdCamp. Go forth, spread the word to the far corners of the Earth, something is happening. There’s something going on, a R(E)volution in teacher professional development. It’s called EdCamp….

A conference, that’s not a conference. An “unconference” is a better term. A new paradigm in teacher professional development, a new, creative, innovative way of staying up to date on what matters most to teachers. As I said, it’s a paradigm shift in teacher professional development. Let me repeat: Paradigm Shift.

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Being A Teacher in Chile [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: May 3, 2012
“How do you become a good teacher?” Those of you who know me from reading my writing already know my answer. The short answer, the simple answer, the easy to understand answer. It has two parts.
First, love what you do. Love being a teacher so much that if you had the power to be anything on Earth, pilot, astronaut, doctor, dentist, taxi-driver, singer, dancer, artist, musician, anything at all, you would still choose to be a teacher. Love being a teacher, that’s number one.

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Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Paperback]

I am a teacher, and I teach in Chile. This year a new Teacher Career Law, defining the teaching profession in terms of increased prestige, attracting more applicants from higher performing students, an obligatory enabling exam, higher salaries, fewer hours teaching in the classroom, and higher responsibilities wil be passed, hopefully. This book totally supports the idea that a good law is needed, and now is the time to pass one, even if that law is not yet perfect. We Teachers have such a long way to go, and this is clearly a tremendous step in the right direction. To celebrate, all of the funds received for the sale of this book will go to support the EdCamp Santiago free conference for teachers in Chile. Thank you, in advance, for buying this book. May God Bless You…

Soy el más afortunado de todos quienes trabajan. A un médico se le permite traer una vida en un momento mágico. A mí se me permite que esa vida renazca día a a día con nuevas preguntas, ideas y amistades. Un arquitecto sabe que si construye con cuidado, su estructura puede permanecer por siglos. Un maestro sabe que si construye con amor y verdad, lo que construya durará para siempre.

Book Details
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 3, 2012)
Language: English/Spanish
ISBN-10: 1478176520
ISBN-13: 978-1478176527

Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Kindle Edition]

Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Kindle Edition]

**

La Desconferencia: EdCamp Santiago (Spanish Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: May 12, 2012
Soy un maestro. Soy el más afortunado de todos quienes trabajan. A un médico se le permite traer una vida en un momento mágico. A mí se me permite que esa vida renazca día a a día con nuevas preguntas, ideas y amistades.

EdCamp Santiago es la desconferencia. Entrada gratuita, desarrollo profesional, por profesores, para profesores. Compartir en vez de competir, aprendizaje entre pares. Participantes comparten y intercambian sus mejores prácticas pedagógicas: “Best Practices”.

**

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The Chilean National English Test [Kindle Edition]

Book Description

Publication Date: March 25, 2012

SIMCE Ingles 2010: The development of the national English test in Chile coincides with my story, which is woven autobiographically into the larger story, a test which apparently resulted in only 11% of students able to achieve a passing score.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will reveal secrets to you that you thought you already knew about tests, test-making, and test-reporting.

More importantly, if you are a teacher, you leave the reading of this book with a renewed sense of confidence in who you are, and what you do…

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Celtic Warrior Queen Boudicca

Statue of Queen Boudicca on the Thames River in London

What is deemed as “history” is often determined by those who survived to write it. In other words, history is written by the victors. The Roman historian, Tacitus, left us an account of the Roman victory over Queen Boudicca in the year A.D. 60-61.

Prasutagus, the wealthy King of the Iceni tribe, had died. Upon his death, his wife, Queen Boudicca, became the new ruler of the Iceni tribe. She headed a rebellion against the occupying Romans in Britain in A.D. 60 in which more than seventy thousand Romans were killed. The rebellion was eventually crushed and Boudicca committed suicide. So, this is a neat, sweet his-story with a happy ending, if you were on the Roman side, that is.

Yet undeniably, every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record, but a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.

Now, with the help of the Roman historian Tacitus, I shall tell you Queen Boudicca’s story, her-story……

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Boudicca: Her Story
[Kindle Edition]

What is deemed as “his-story” is often determined by those who survived to write it. In other words, history is written by the victors. The Roman historian, Tacitus, left us an account of the Roman victory over Queen Boudicca in the year A.D. 60-61.

Yet undeniably, every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record, but a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.

Now, with the help of the Roman historian Tacitus, I shall tell you Queen Boudicca’s story, her-story……

Boudicca: Her Story [Kindle Edition]

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Pecha Kucha & ELT

I saw my first Pecha Kucha over three years ago. It was when I was working at Universidad Andrés Bello at Campus Casona in Santiago with the students in the English Pedagogy program. I admit I’ve been fascinated by “Pecha Kucha” ever since that first time. I remember being very impressed by the performance I watched. There were a number of reasons for this. For now, let me share with you why I find Pecha Kucha to be so impressive and fascinating as a presentation technique.
Firstly, when we speak of our first time doing something enjoyable, it’s always a good feeling. We like what we like, we know what we like, and because of that, we return often, to what we like.

As you can tell by now, I like Pecha Kucha.

Secondly, its principles are easy to understand and apply. It’s fast, it’s efficient, it’s effective, it’s collaborative, it’s visual, it’s easy to prepare, it’s fun. However, it does require practice, lots of it, to do this really well. Practice, oh what a sweet word in the ears of any EFL teacher. Students practicing what they are going to say, again and again, going over their own words, to speak about images they themselves have selected. Volumes of practice, huge quantities of practice, helping the students to achieve the eventual automaticity that is the hallmark of mastery.

Having said that, of all the principles of the Pecha Kucha, the most important principle is this: images are powerful.

Images convey meaning and emotions. In fact, the whole range of the human experience can be conveyed by images. For example, think of the images left on the walls of caves by cave men. No one needs a cave man to verbalize what you are seeing. You feel it – through your eyes – to your brain – to your emotions. It’s visual storytelling. That’s what the Pecha Kucha is, visual literacy in its purest form…

Pecha Kucha & ELT
**

The International Baccalaureate [Kindle Edition]

The International Baccalaureate [Paperback]

The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.

It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.

I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.

In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.

I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.

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Amazon Author Page:

Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Edcamp Santiago 2013 is currently looking for volunteers to help organize the annual event. If you are interested, contact Edcamp Santiago! Your help will make all the difference!

Email: edcampstgo@gmail.com
Facebook: Edcamp Santiago
!Like our page on Facebook please!
Read our Blog!
Edcamp Santiago on LinkedIn
Edcamp Santiago on Slideshare
Twitter: @EdcampSantiago

Es una red que reúne a Profesionales de la Educación preocupados por desarrollar y fortalecer las capacidades de sus comunidades educativas, a través de la creatividad, la innovación y el emprendimiento.

Thomas was recently selected for membership in the Comunidad de Innovación Escolar of the Foundation Telefónica and Foundation Educación 2020. It is a network that brings together education professionals concerned with developing and strengthening the capacities of their educational communities through creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Thomas is also a past member (2011-2012) of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty four (44) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jerome-Baker/e/B007G9HJFM

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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