Responding to the Education Select Committee’s report on the English Baccalaureate, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:
We believe very strongly that all children have the right to a broad and balanced education that includes English, maths, science, a language and a humanity.
These academic subjects reflect the knowledge and skills young people need to progress to further study or to rewarding employment. It cannot be right that children from the poorest backgrounds are significantly less likely to have the opportunity to take GCSEs in these subjects than children from more advantaged areas. Just 8% of children eligible for Free School Meals were entered for the E-Bacc subjects next last year compared to 22% overall.
Closing the attainment gap between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds is a key objective of the Government and the E-Bacc measure plays an important part in helping to deliver that objective. The E-Bacc is not compulsory but it is about closing the attainment gap between rich and poor and about increasing opportunity.