An EBacc Embarrassment

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Why have we had to wait 500+ days for the Department of Education to publish 2,755 responses to their consultation?

Since the 21st January 2016 – yes, 17 months ago – the Department for Education have been analysing public feedback to gauge “how to get at least 90% of pupils to take GCSEs in the EBacc subjects.” In the interim period between the consultation and the General Election (June 2017), the Conservative party have since re-adjusted this compulsory figure, from 90%, to 75% – despite no publication.

Only two weeks ago, I asked if the Department for Education were Ignoring the EBacc? The issue was fast-becoming an EBacc-embarrassment, but despite it being over 17 months, they have finally done it! The Department for Education has published the English Baccalaureate consultation.


My contacts with peers inside the House of Lords (I hope) have helped continue to raise the issue, pushing the Government to publish their findings. No doubt the recent General Election of 2017 and the period of purdah delayed publication further, but I suspect without the pressure from inside the House of Lords, we would still be waiting for news. Only two days ago, I tweeted a newspaper story from Schools Week, that highlighted that the Government had a delay on consultations totalling over EIGHT years!


In this post I offer a summary of the 2,755 responses received. Yes, that’s just 2,755 responses to read over a period of 500 days! If one compares this to the Workload Challenge consultation which received over 44,000 responses – in October 2014, the Secretary of State and Deputy Prime Minister launched the Department for Education’s online Workload Challenge, it took just 4 months(!) to read and analyse the responses, then publish the report and actions. Go figure!

In true teacher-style, I have annotated the consultation report. You can download the full publication here which includes my markings/annotations.

There is also a good summary from Schools Week.


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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