The opposition of groups representing subjects that have been excluded from the English baccalaureate – the school performance measure that shows how many pupils get good GCSE grades in English, maths, the sciences, a language and history or geography – is well known.
But now we’ve learned that even those representing subjects that are included in the EBacc have concerns about how a pledge by ministers to have 90% of pupils studying it is to be met.
In their official response to the government’s consultation on the plan, five scientific organisations, including the Royal Society, say that having so many pupils do so is “untenable”, given science teacher shortages.
And the Association for Language Learning raises “concerns about ongoing teacher supply” as well as “disaffection and behaviour management issues where challenging pupils are required to pursue any of the subjects in which they are no longer engaged”.
Some other subject associations – notably those representing geography – are much more enthusiastic. But the teacher shortage issue, in particular, seems a headache for ministers that is only going to get worse.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “While we recognise the challenges [on teacher recruitment] that school leaders face in particular areas, we are working with the sector to address them with constructive action.”