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What is the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)?

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is a performance measure showing the proportion of children in a secondary school who achieve a Grade C or more in core academic subjects - English, maths, a science, history or geography and a language.

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The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) was introduced by the Department for Education in 2010. Its purpose is to encourage students to study a broad range of core subjects, which will help prepare them for further and higher education courses. Education Quizzes provide revision quizzes for all of these subjects and you can access them from our GCSE Subjects page.

The EBacc scores achieved by schools and students also assist parents in deciding which secondary schools to send their children to for Key Stage 4 GCSE studies.

It's important to note that not all students study the English Baccalaureate, but the government aimed for at least three-quarters of all pupils in state and independent schools to study EBacc subjects by 2022.

The English Baccalaureate is a performance measure showing the proportion of children in a secondary school who achieve at least a Grade C in core academic subjects.


Subjects for the English Baccalaureate

The EBacc consists of five main areas of study, with some flexibility in subject choices:

  • Maths (with more than 60 different course options)
  • English language (required, not English literature)
  • Humanities (choice between geography and history, with the option of ancient history)
  • Sciences (including computer science, chemistry, physics, and biology)
  • Language (students choose one from a list including Latin, classical Greek, Biblical Hebrew, and various modern European languages)

If you're looking for tips on revising for your GCSEs, check out our Advice For GCSE Exam Revision article.

Calculating the EBacc Score

Until 2017, the EBacc attainment measure required students to achieve at least a Grade 5 in English and maths and a Grade C or above in a science subject, a language, plus history or geography. From 2018, the measure is the school's average EBacc score for exam results.

Individual students' scores are calculated by averaging points attained in the five EBacc subjects. The school's EBacc rating is determined by adding the average scores for each student and then dividing that by the number of pupils taking the exams.

The qualifications which make up a pupil’s EBacc score are English, maths, the sciences (including computer science), history or geography and a language.


Relevance of EBacc in University Applications

While universities do not base their admission decisions on the English Baccalaureate, it holds value for students seeking higher education. EBacc students can demonstrate a broad education, which strengthens their applications. Relevant A-levels play a crucial role in securing university places, but having the EBacc can further enhance a student's academic profile.

For those aiming for top UK universities like those in the Russell Group, specific EBacc subjects may be important. Some subjects such as English, maths, and modern foreign languages are highly regarded. It's advisable to check individual university websites for specific course requirements before embarking on EBacc studies.

English Baccalaureate vs. International Baccalaureate

The English Baccalaureate and the International Baccalaureate are distinct qualifications. The International Baccalaureate comprises six subjects and is accepted worldwide. It includes three higher level subjects, an extended essay, compulsory courses, and an element related to real-life experiences outside school.

The English Baccalaureate is a way to compare secondary schools to see how many students received good grades in their GCSEs.

If you want to learn more about secondary schools, read our Secondary School Explained article.

If you have more questions about education, visit our EQ Knowledge Bank. It contains articles covering various educational topics and questions from parents, teachers, and students, providing valuable insights beyond education, including children's health, safety, and bullying prevention.


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