Raising standards through the English Baccalaureat..
Raising standards through the English Baccalaureat (Ebacc)
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2016
Golborne High School and IES Salvador Rueda have worked together for the past 10 years. This year, Golborne High school worked with IES Salvador Rueda in a job shadowing project to look at Raising standards through the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc). The Ebacc is a fairly new concept in Golborne High School and it is a performance measure and not a qualification. Pupils who can achieve 5 grade C or above at GCSE level in English, Mathematics, 2 Sciences and a Humantities subject ( History or Geography) with a Language (French or Spanish in Golborne) are awarded an English Baccalaureate certificate which is recognised by many Colleges of Further Education and Universities. Currently, the number of pupils at Golborne High School who have achieved the Ebacc certificate is 16%. Participants wanted to make this figure much higher and as the school wanted to have more pupils each year who will leave with this certificate, it was important to see how teachers could aid the success rate. This is why Golborne representatives went to Spain to look at how to raise standards as they already have a similar system in Spain with their Bachillerato.
After a period of observation, it was found that although the Bachillerato was a similar system to the Ebacc, children studied it when they were older so it equated more to an A Level. GCSE equates to the 3 and 4 ESO in which there is actually no formal certificate. In 2017 the education system will change and Spain will move to a more similar system of the UK where there is one exam for all at the age of 16.
However, the principal in bachillerato remained the same in that pupils had limited choice in their studies and had to study a set number of subjects. For example, the Art subjects seemed to be dismissed and the focus was on more traditionally academic subjects. It was noted that Bachillerato class sizes were much larger (sometimes 34-40 in a group), this is more similar to GCSE groups than A level. Many lessons were delivered as a lecture style rather than being interactive so in this respect Golborne already has some good ideas.
Several disadvantages were seen which were linked to class size and pupils having to study subjects which were obligatory. The higher ability pupils in the cohort who studied the bilingual project when they started secondary school in Spain coped well with the demands of the Bachillerato. Most seemed to performed well in exams at the end of their course.
Two teachers from Golborne High School took part in the visit. Both were teachers of different Ebacc subjects (History and Modern Languages). They were both experienced teachers who were keen to share new ideas with other members of staff in Golborne High School through a series of dissemination activities including whole school and cluster inset presentations, media write ups in magazines, newspapers and also feeding back to the local community by speaking to the local community group the Golborne Village Committee. Another dissemination activity was preparing a display for the local library to promote internationalism in a very white British ex-mining community which is deprived in areas. The participants wanted to provide a background knowledge to help the local community understand why it is important to raise standards in school through the Ebacc.
The project enabled participants to observe good practice in the Spanish school in all areas of the curriculum. Newly Qualified and Experienced teachers were observed in lessons in a variety of subjects but mainly in English, Geography and History which are Ebacc subjects. The project allowed teachers to look at and share new ideas for teaching methods which could also be shared with other teachers during dissemination activities. After observing several lessons, it seemed that the general lesson style was always a lecture style lesson, this included a lesson by a young teacher who was studying for her Masters in Education. She had to undertake 125 hours of school experience which equated to one month observation and one month teaching. Once she had this experience only then she could apply for the competitive 'oposiciones' exam which would allow her to become a teacher (if she was successful). It was noted that to raise standards in the UK through the Ebacc pupils should study the subjects from their first year of primary education. This visit was beneficial as ideas were shared and a vision of how a newly adapted curriculum could impact results. Discussions with the Head Teacher and staff in Spain gave participants more ideas about how pupils could be engaged through curriculum & lessons.
The series of observations in lessons carried out looked at the methodology of teaching and feedback was provided to colleagues in Spain and the UK at the end of the visit. A long term plan would be to encourage more staff and pupils to be involved more in international activities. This includes KA1 and KA2 projects and more etwinning small projects.
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