Ebacc will affect sports


Experts from sport governing bodies, including the Football Association, British Cycling and the UK Athletics Association, have warned that a new academic qualification risks sidelining sport and could threaten Britain’s Olympic legacy.
They fear the English Baccalaureate, which recognises only pupils who pass five academic exams, will put teenagers off studying sport.

The Ebacc will be awarded to pupils who pass GCSEs with a C grade or better in English, maths, science, a language and geography or history, and schools will be measured on what percentage of pupils receive the Ebacc.

Critics fear this will encourage schools to focus on the five core subjects to the detriment of the wider curriculum.

Andy Reed, chairman of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “Over the last four years, the number of pupils taking PE at GCSE level has dropped by a third.

“To ensure we do not marginalise sport and creative subjects, we believe they must be included as a sixth pillar of the new Ebacc qualification, in addition to the five core subject areas proposed by the Government.”

Mr Reed added: “By limiting the Ebacc to five core academic subject areas, there is a real danger that PE will be sidelined by headteachers as they focus on achieving success in league tables.

“The variety of career pathways open to young people will be restricted, and the development of sporting talent in the UK could be undermined.”

The fears over the Ebacc are part of a wider debate about the future of school sport. Education secretary Michael Gove dismantled a national network of school sport partnerships when he axed £162m in ringfenced funding in 2010. It was partially reinstated following an outcry, but £65m to pay for the release of secondary teachers to primary schools one or two days a week runs out at the end of this academic year.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The English Baccalaureate will not prevent any school from offering subjects that their pupils want to study.

“We want more young people to take part in competitive sport so they lead healthy and active lifestyles and learn how to work as a team.”

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