Academies and the ‘English Baccalaureate’

Research Note

Academies and the ‘English Baccalaureate’


The Coalition government, soon after coming into office, introduced a new qualification called the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc). This required pupils to gain a C grade or above in each of the following subjects:



Sciences (combined science, or 2 separate sciences)

Foreign Language

History or Geography.


The declared intention was to ensure a broad curriculum for KS4, though many have pointed out that the selection is somewhat arbitrary. For example, the creative arts are excluded, and no credit is given for more practical or vocational studies.


Clearly, when this was introduced, it was too late for most schools to change subject choices for pupils who were embarking on KS4 (Sept 2009) and would take GCSEs in summer 2011. So the Ebacc statistics for 2011 generally reflect the different curriculum which schools had already become accustomed to. For selective schools, and comprehensive schools with intakes skewed towards high academic achievers, this range of subjects was perfectly standard.


Over the years, considerable official pressure has been put onto academies to maximize their GCSE “or equivalent” scores by any means possible. (See Research Note on Equivalents for a detailed explanation.) This enabled the government to claim that the academies were successful and improving faster than other schools. The damage done to the curriculum studied by pupils was apparently of no importance.


Unfortunately for academy supporters, one result of this narrowing down of curriculum and opting for easier ‘equivalent’ qualifications has been a very poor result for academies in terms of the Ebacc.


Among all schools nationally, 18% of pupils gained Ebacc, compared with 59% gaining 5A*-C with English and Maths or ‘equivalent’

Among all maintained schools, 16% of pupils gained Ebacc compared with 59%

Among academies, 8% of pupils gained Ebacc compared with 50%.


In other words, the ratios between Ebacc and 5A-Cs with English and Maths (or equivalent) were:

All schools: around 1 in 3

Maintained schools: around 1 in 4

Academies: around 1 in 6


However, the Ebacc results in academies were overwhelmingly gained by selective schools such as converted grammar or independent schools. Without these, the ratio is about 1 in 13. Leaving aside such selective schools, in 8 out of 10 academies 5% or fewer pupils gained the Ebacc. In a third, no one did.


Terry Wrigley (3 Feb 2011)
List of high-achieving, mainly selective predecessors

Dixons CTC

Haberdasher Askes Hatcham


Landau Forte College

Harris CTC

Belvedere GDST

William Hulme Grammar School

John Cabot CTC

Bacon’s College

ADT College

Bristol Cathedral School

Colston’s Girls School

Greensward College

The Priory LSST

Brooke Weston CTC

CTC Kingshurst

The Ridings High School

Outwood Grange College of Technology

Birkenhead High School

Duke of York Military School

Brine Leas High School

Fallibroome High School

Uffculme School

Cotswold School

Watford Grammar School for Boys

Ditto Girls

Heckmondwike Grammar School

Healing School

Tollbar Business Enterprise and Humanities College

Northampton School for Boys

George Spencer Academy and Technical College

Arthur Mellows Village College

Chadwell Heath Foundation School

Huish Episcopi School

Westcliff High School for Boys

Hartismere High School

Audenshaw School

Urmstone Grammar School

Hardenhuish School



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