The National Bacc: a “one nation” curriculum

Eddie Playfair

The curriculum we offer young people aged 14-18 in England is a divided patchwork of qualifications which is increasingly seen in hierarchical terms: “facilitating” A levels worth the most, non “facilitating” A-levels worth less and vocational qualifications least valued of all.

This hierarchy of qualifications is reflected in a hierarchy of institutions, with the most selective providers offering mainly “facilitating” A-levels and aiming to prepare young people for “top” ie: selective universities and most providers fighting over the rest.

Such a system can only lead to social immobility and division when what we want is social mobility and cohesion. We have no shared national aims or unifying principles for this phase of education. For young people who are entering adulthood and need a rich and stimulating induction to the best that human culture has to offer, our system tends to  narrow opportunities rather than broaden them. 16 year olds, let…

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