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Is The English Baccalaureate a Social Justice Problem?

Since 2011, when Ebacc was introduced, its objective had been to open and equalise education systems more comprehensively; unfortunately, its real effect has been very different than expected. Though many believed the new system wouldn’t work, those in charge chose to implement one without consultation from anyone involved despite widespread objection.

Now the facts show that even with all available choices for students to select from, cultural factors still play an influential role when making choices among courses available to them. Students can select subjects that will empower them, while still reflecting their culture and social background. The system implemented has proven effective at widening the social divide between those from poor backgrounds and those from more affluent families, widening further due to various overlooked aspects at its beginning implementation of Ebacc.

Students from FSM structures have not taken up the opportunity to study the more core GCSE subjects and this gap has been seen to widen even in non-FSM structures. The question is then, what is the result of the Ebacc implementation, and has it achieved the equality standard that was aimed for at its inception?

The answer seems to be a resounding NO, as the gap has only widened in the educational system as school leaders have had to implement timetables that have stretched the equality gap and have made many schools even less Ebacc compliant. The evidence seems to point to the fact that students make decisions based on their perceived resources and not just because the choice is available to them. So Ebacc has created even more social distance between the have?s and have not?s, and that is truly a social justice problem that must be addressed.

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