Students

Stephen Twigg: Government Should Introduce Technical Baccalaureate For Non-Academic Students

Ministers should introduce a technical baccalaureate for pupils who do not want to be constrained by the Government's new academically-focused English Baccalaureate (EBac), Labour claims.

The new qualification, which would concentrate on vocational subjects, would mean a boost to the grades of many academies, the new shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said.

He told MPs during his first education questions in the Commons that many academies were losing out because they focused on vocational subjects, which include business studies and IT.

Mr Twigg said: "Some of (the academies) have focused successfully on improving vocational education, progress which is not reflected in the Government's EBac. Will you give serious consideration to creating a technical baccalaureate, proposed by many, including (former Education Secretary) Lord Baker?"

But the Education Minister Nick Gibb said the EBac was "sufficiently small" to allow pupils to take other subjects as well as the obligatory core subjects, including English, maths and science.

The Tory MP Tony Baldry, who represents the Church Commissioners in parliament, said the Government should make religious education a humanities option along with history and geography on the EBac, otherwise it would inevitably decline in popularity.

But Education Secretary Michael Gove said the subject was becoming more popular, up 17.6% to 222,000 in the Government's last set of figures and was now more popular than history and geography.

Labour's Steve Rotherham said baccalaureates were unsuitable for some children. Asking why the Government failed to believe in "parity of esteem", he told MPs: "EBacs maybe for some, but certainly not for all. Some people are more suited to vocational courses instead of a purely academic route."

Mr Gove said: "We should esteem working class students in the same way as those from other backgrounds."

He blamed Labour for denying poorer children the chance to study academic subjects which would help them into university, claiming it had "frozen social mobility".