The Education Secretary has defended his EBacc proposals in the Commons as concerns are raised across parties.
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Education Secretary Michael Gove has been defending his view on the English Baccalaurate (EBacc) in a House of Commons debate on the basis that “what was an academic education limited to a narrow elite in the 1950s is now being extended to more and more children.” He accused the Labour benches of having a “snobbish attitude” and falling into a “unique historic trap… by endorsing the idea that English, maths, science and modern foreign languages should somehow be denied to young people”. In relation to the exclusion of the arts from the proposed curriculum, he said: “The assault on the subjects in the English Baccalaureate betrays the most narrow of mindsets, whereby the only things that are creative are those which fall within a particularly narrow spectrum.” But concerns about the Government’s exclusion of arts from their EBacc education reforms were expressed last week across the both Houses and by both Conservative and Labour politicians. Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg said the plans would undermine the country’s economic position, while Graham Stuart, Chair of the Select Committee for education, urged the Government not to rush forward with their EBacc plans: “The Secretary of State told the Select Committee that ‘coherence comes at the end of the process.’ Well, I think coherence comes at the beginning of the process.” In the Lords, Labour Peer Baroness Hughes said the plans had only succeeded in bonding together people across the arts, sport, business, and faith organisations to ask why relevant subjects hadn’t been included in the reforms. The campaign Bacc for the Future, co-ordinated by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, was praised by Lib Dem Lord Clement-Jones for bringing strong voices together in the arts sector in opposition to the plans as they currently stand.