Every child should have access to the best opportunities in Britain, and this means having access to study the key subjects that provide the knowledge and skills young people need to succeed and leave school ready for life in modern Britain. I am very pleased that Ministers want to see 90 per cent of children who started secondary school this year study these core subjects to GCSE level as part of the EBacc.
While the EBacc rightly focuses on the core academic skills that employers and higher education institutions value, pupils will still study a broad curriculum - the EBacc doesn't exclude or undermine other subjects such as arts. Indeed, since its introduction in 2012, the number of entries in arts subjects has risen by more than 5 per cent. In addition, key skills from these core subjects are important for broader study - for example, history and maths underpin economics; and the study of English links to drama.
The Government will be publishing EBacc data in order to reward and recognise schools' EBacc achievements. As well as publishing EBacc entry and attainment levels, the new Progress 8 measure will assess the progress pupils make across eight subjects, including five EBacc subjects and three other subjects which could include creative or vocational subjects. Focusing on performance across eight qualifications will incentivise schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum.
Finally, I can assure you that Ministers are well aware that the EBacc will not be appropriate for a small minority of pupils, and have committed to setting out an alternative expectation. The Government sought views on these plans and I look forward to hearing more details on how this important plan will be implemented in due course.