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Is The English Baccalaureate a Social Justice Problem?

With the introduction of the Ebacc (English Baccalaureate) curriculum in 2011, the school system was meant to become more open and more equal. However, the truth is far from the dream and the reality paints a completely different picture than what was expected. Even though the general consensus was that the system would not work the powers that be still choose to implement a system that nobody wanted, and the facts are starting to roll in that even with all the choices in the world available to them, students are still choosing based on cultural criteria.

What this means is that students have the opportunity to choose the subjects that would put them in the driving seat of their lives but they are choosing subjects that reflect their cultural and social backgrounds. The implemented system has succeeded to further widen the social gap between students from impoverished backgrounds and those from more affluent social standings. The gap has since then widened even further due to several factors that were seemingly not been taken into account at the start of the Ebacc implementation.

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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