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Higham Lane School

Higham Lane School

E Baccalaureate Explained

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is not a qualification in its own right, rather a collection of GCSE qualifications which the Department for Education strongly recommend students study and together are called the English Baccalaureate. To achieve the EBacc you need to obtain GCSE grades 9-4 in:-

  • English Language
  • Maths
  • two Sciences (which can include Computer Science)
  • a Modern Foreign Language
  • a Humanity (History or Geography).

As a school, we are committed to the English Baccalaureate as this offers a broad and balanced curriculum, equips you with an important range of knowledge and skills and keeps your options open for further study and future careers.  Therefore, you will continue to study GCSE French as one of the core subjects in Years 9 to 11 and must choose either History or Geography as one of your three option choices.

Many employers are also looking for applicants who can speak a language and who have had a broad education which the EBacc offers. 

A study by the University College London Institute of Education shows that studying subjects included in the EBacc provides students with greater opportunities in further education and increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education. Sutton Trust research reveals that studying the EBacc can help improve a young person’s performance in English and maths.

We appreciate that studying a GCSE in a modern foreign language may be particularly daunting for some students.  However, there will be plenty of support available from your teachers.  Year 8 students are currently receiving a bespoke programme of study tailored to introducing you to GCSE French and to develop your language skills further. This will continue at GCSE. You will continue to be supported to develop your knowledge of French. You will revisit and deepen your understanding of French grammar and your knowledge of the francophone world in line with the GCSE requirements. You will continue developing your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills and will be taught alongside other students of a similar ability.   A language GCSE builds on what you’ve already learnt in years 7 and 8 and you probably know more than you think. Language classes are still fun and interactive and you cover things at a slightly quicker pace, but this is good as you'll easily notice the improvements that you make in your foreign language. Plus by taking a language GCSE you don’t just learn the language, you get to find out about other people, countries and cultures so it really is an interesting and varied subject.

Here are our top 10 reasons why should study a foreign language:

  1. English is not enough! When you travel abroad, you will find that not everyone speaks or wants to speak English.
  2. A language will always be useful, no matter what you do.
  3. In class, you get to study a wide range of topics all about different people and cultures, not just how to speak.
  4. You can read books, watch films and listen to songs in their native language - and understand them too!
  5. Languages mean business - being able to speak a language will make you really stand out when you apply for jobs or apply to university
  6. They’re good for you! Speaking more than one language increases your brain capacity, improves your memory and can improve your grades in other subjects.
  7. It’s really impressive to be able to speak a foreign language. It's a real achievement that your friends will envy and employers will love!
  8. You can understand and talk to lots more people when you go to another country on holiday, go overseas for work, go aboard for a gap year between sixth form and university or go to live in another country.
  9. Using a language at work could increase your salary.
  10. Learning languages really improves your communication skills and problem-solving ability.