Fixing the education system in Britain is absolutely crucial to promoting social
mobility, the principal domestic social policy aim of the coalition. So Michael Gove’s announcement on the Andrew Marr show this morning that the government plans to introduce an English
baccalaureate is to be welcomed.
The baccalaureate programme will end at 16, still allowing specialisation at A-Level—one of the things that allows undergraduate education in this country to be far more intellectually
rigorous than in the States, and will require pupils to do English, maths, science, a foreign or ancient language and a humanity. This should help stop the drift to softer subjects at GCSE and
place pressure on all schools to enter all their pupils in all these subjects. It will also mean that students who have gone through this system will be better prepared for A-Levels.
Gove’s next challenge is to make sure that 16 year-olds in all schools, not just high-performing ones, appreciate the extent to which their choice of A-Level subjects dictates what they can do