Friday, 25 February 2011

March Education Forum

The English Baccalaureate – one step forward, two steps back?

In the third of a series of discussions focused on the Coalition's new white paper, Education Forum members David Perks and Kevin Rooney will debate the merits of the Coalition’s English Baccalaureate (EB).

Coalition plans to introduce the EB can be regarded as a return to sense – a pruning down of an overcrowded curriculum in order to focus attention on academic subjects. Or it can, and has been, interpreted as an example of government interference and prescription – another mechanism with which to make schools accountable.

Other criticisms of the EB regard it as representing nothing more than the arbitrary choice of an individual – and a posh politician at that. Or the focus on traditional academic subjects is condemned as elitist – suitable for upper or middle class pupils, but not for all children – who may have other non-academic interests.

In a world that seems to be ever changing, are traditional subjects still relevant? Are they the best way to prepare young people for adult life? Is an academic curriculum a precondition, or an obstacle, for a child’s development ?

Love it or loathe it, the English Baccalaureate raises important questions about what should be in the school curriculum and for what reasons; as well as who should decide what our children learn at school.

Monday 21st March, 7pm at Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3AT.