The Historical Association Response to the English Baccalaureate 2011

Published 16th March 2011

In February 2011, the Department for Education issued a call for evidence regarding the English Baccalaureate, to be considered by a review committee.

The Historical Association responded to this call for evidence on behalf of our members. The full submission currently remains the property of the review committee, should they decide to use it as evidence and cannot be published until the review is over. A summary of the response follows below.

  • The Historical Association welcomes the place of history within the English Baccalaureate and applauds the impact that this will have both on teaching time at Key Stage 3 and GCSE uptake for history.
  • We applaud the recognition and increased status that the English Baccalaureate will mean for history.
  • The English Baccalaureate will give teachers of history a real opportunity to enthuse and ignite a passion for history among a whole new generation of students.
  • We support the right of students to access the study of history up to the age of 16. International studies show that we currently fall behind out international counterparts by allowing our students to drop all study of history at such an early age.
  • History is identified among the Russell Groups' Informed Choices document as one of the academic subjects that is likely to help those wishing for professional careers to succeed. The English Baccalaureate is a step towards greater potential for students.
  • Suitable level 1 qualifications need to be developed in history in order for less able students to be able to access the subject and succeed.  
  • The Historical Association Survey 2010 revealed a growing concern about the amount of Key Stage 3 history being taught by non-specialists. We hope that the English Baccalaureate may serve in time to provide the impetus for specialist teaching at Key Stage 3.
  • The rationale for the inclusion of history in the English Baccalaureate and expectations of teachers needs to be made clear.
  • The English Baccalaureate should not become a gold standard for entry to 6th form or university study.
  • The English Baccalaureate must not be allowed to become a divisive qualification that perpetuates current inequalities.
  • Classical Civilisation is a historical subject and should be included in the English Baccalaureate alongside ancient history.