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English Baccalaureate

What is the English Baccalaureate?

The English Baccalaureate (or EBacc) is a school performance measure rather than an actual qualification for students.

The EBacc is:

  • English language and literature
  • mathematics
  • the sciences (including computer science)
  • geography or history
  • a language.

It was introduced in 2010 by the government and represented a core of subjects that it wanted students to have the opportunity to study, while acknowledging that other subjects and qualifications remain valuable in their own right.

The English Baccalaureate is not compulsory. The government’s ambition is to see 75% of students studying the EBacc subject combination at GCSE by 2022, and 90% by 2025.

Secondary schools are measured on the number of students that take GCSEs in these core subjects. Schools are also measured on how well their students do in these subjects.

Why was it introduced?

Research had shown that a student’s socio-economic background impacts the subjects they choose at GCSE, and that this determines their opportunities beyond school.

The Government believed that the EBacc will enhance the prospects of students, particularly disadvantaged students, by ensuring they receive a core academic curriculum that allows them to retain options in subsequent education and in the employment market.

Can you study the EBacc subjects at William Farr School?

In Key Stage 4, students study a compulsory core, which includes the English language and literature, mathematics and science elements of the EBacc.

In addition, students take 3 optional subjects. The Key Stage 4 option blocks will enable any student wishing to study all elements of the EBacc to do so.

The school offers a wide range of different option subjects that students may study to allow them to experience a broad and balanced curriculum. Our academic curriculum includes a range of creative and technical subjects that enable students to prepare for the next stage in their education. All of the courses we offer at Key Stage 4 are high quality courses that we value equally.


  • History
  • Geography                                                        
  • Computer Science                                          
  • Triple Science                                                   
  • French                                                                 
  • Spanish                                                               

Non EBacc:

  • Art                                         
  • Music                                   
  • Drama                                  
  • Photography                     
  • IT – Creative i-Media     
  • Business Studies
  • Enterprise & Marketing
  • Physical Education
  • Sports Studies
  • Electronics                         
  • Fashion & Textiles
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Graphics
  • Product Design

Our options process encourages students to consider all of the subjects that we offer and make a choice based on their own interests, strengths and future plans.

Freedom to choose any 3 subjects from the option blocks enables students to pursue a range of different subject combinations and leave their options open for further study and future careers.

We believe that this approach strongly fits with our school vision to provide all members of the school community with the opportunities to engage with 'life in all its fullness' (John 10:10) through the highest quality of education, encouragement and endeavour. We are committed to striving for excellence and ensuring that all students are known, valued and can achieve.

Our whole curriculum offer at Key Stage 4 has high ambition and is grounded in developing the knowledge and understanding that students need to effectively build on their prior learning to prepare them for the next stage in their education.

Where can I find out more information about the EBacc?

The EBacc is a means of the government encouraging an increase the take-up of ‘core’ academic qualifications that it believed best equipped a student for progression to further study and work.

Concerns have been raised at a National level that the EBacc may not be suitable for a significant number of pupils and would limit the range of creative, technical and vocational courses they could study.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website including a leaflet for parents: EBacc