Concerns over new curriculum at St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill: school responds to parents’ worries about EBacc

St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill has responded to concerns about its introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Some parents contacted the Middy to say they were worried the changed curriculum would not support the uniqueness of every child.

They were also concerned that the EBacc would add too much to the students’ GCSE workload and could be bad for their mental health after they had missed a lot of classroom time in the pandemic.

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Headteacher Mr Rob Carter said: “At St Paul’s we are proud of providing an innovative, engaging and inspiring curriculum.

St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill. Photo: Steve Robards, SR1609010.

“This has led to students flourishing and achieving their God-given potential and results being consistently in the top 10 per cent nationally at GCSE and A level.”

He continued: “In the last publicly published results in 2019 we were the top performing secondary school in West Sussex when looking at the progress of our students.

“The school has also retained the ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grading since 2007.

“Looking at best practice locally and nationally we believe the EBacc will provide an broad and balanced curriculum.”

Mr Carter added: “Studying a language deepens our cultural understanding and communication while humanities encourage strong practice in extended writing.”

“At St Paul’s we have always looked to support, nurture and inspire the students to flourish in our community based on faith, hope and love,” he said.

Mr Carter wrote to all parents on Wednesday (December 8, 2021) before the Year 9 students chose their GCSE options.

In the letter, he said the Department for Education and Ofsted expect all schools to adopt a curriculum with a ‘strong academic core’, known as the EBacc.

This consists of English, Maths, Science, Humanities and a Modern Foreign Language, he said.

“The expectation is that 75 per cent of students should study this by 2022 and this should rise to 90 per cent by 2025,” he said.

“At St Paul’s this is very similar to the successful traditional model we previously had at the school where all students studied ten GCSE subjects,” Mr Carter added.

He said pupils had recently needed to study nine subjects but were not compelled to study a humanity subject and a foreign language.

“We are confident that returning to ten subjects we can still keep this balance right and provide real choice for students,” he said.

The letter explained that from September 2022 students will study: Religious Education, English Language and English Literature, Maths, Science Trilogy or Triple Science, Geography or History, French or Spanish, Core PE, LovEd, and a free choice of two additional subjects.