Chalk Talk: Hard luck, Leonardo, no art lessons for you
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 14 November 2012
Imagine what Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Leonardo da Vinci would have been studying if they had grown up under Education Secretary Michael Gove's English Baccalaureate, the conference held to discuss exam reforms was asked.
They would, a headteacher argued, be deciding which to choose between history and geography for their humanities subject – and the door to engineering or art would have been closed to them.
Schools, the conference – organised by the Westminster Education Forum – was told, are anxious to follow the Baccalaureate agenda as they assume it will become the new panacea for measuring school performance now that the five A* to C grades including maths and English has been so widely discredited by the exams regulator Ofqual.
Not that the assembled crew of headteachers, exam board personnel and education bods were against the idea of a Baccalaureate – it was just that this one wasn't really a Baccalaureate. In foreign parts, the International Baccalaureate qualification symbolises a curriculum that is broad and varied.
"There should be a proper Baccalaureate, which recognises a whole range of achievement in arts, technology and volunteering as well," argued Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
"The only thing wrong with the Baccalaureate is that it really must get its act together on arts and classical civilisation," added Philip Britton, head teacher of the independent Bolton Boys' Division school. "It is barmy having to decide just between history and geography for a humanities subject."
There are signs beginning to emerge, though, from the Department for Education that it is prepared to be a little more flexible about what can be included under the Baccalaureate umbrella. On a recent school visit, Mr Gove let it be known he was prepared to consider the case for computer science.
I have always like the idea of a Baccalaureate and indeed welcome the English one for the good that it has done in halting the decline in the take-up of modern languages. Just a few more pushes and we could be there with just the kind of qualification we need for the era we are in.
Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
Jeremy Clarkson to become 'special adviser on transport' to David Cameron
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...