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English baccalaureate ' a concern'

21/01/2011 Joanna
A headteacher from west Cumbria has expressed concern over the government's publication of English baccalaureate figures last week.

Chris McGrath, principal at Stainburn School in Workington, highlighted the importance of developing IT skills, which is not part of the qualification.

"Some 50 per cent of our pupils last year left with five A* to C grades in English, maths, at least two sciences and ICT," he told the Times and Star.

"It is a real concern for us that the newly announced English baccalaureate provides little or no incentive to pursue these areas of study.

"As a school only ten per cent of our pupils opted to study for both a modern foreign language and a history or geography qualification last year and yet we are to be retrospectively judged on them."

He pointed out that many of the jobs that school leavers will go into demand ICT skills, adding that he cannot see why the baccalaureate qualification ignores such an essential area.

In an article for the Guardian last week, journalist Yvonne Roberts said the English baccalaureate is likely to demotivate struggling pupils.

She added that too often children are labelled early in their school career, undermining their resilience and self-discipline.

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