English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

Updated 20 August 2019

Applies to England


The EBacc is a set of subjects at GCSE that keeps young people’s options open for further study and future careers.

The EBacc is:

  • English language and literature
  • maths
  • the sciences
  • geography or history
  • a language



To count towards the English part of the EBacc, pupils need to take both English literature and English language GCSE exams.


Pupils need to take one of the following options:

  • GCSE combined science – pupils take 2 GCSEs that cover the 3 main sciences, biology, chemistry and physics
  • 3 single sciences at GCSE – pupils choose 3 subjects from biology, chemistry, physics and computer science


Taking any ancient or modern foreign language GCSE counts towards the languages part of the EBacc.

EBacc qualifications

To count towards the EBacc measure, qualifications must be included in the approved list of the qualifications.

EBacc measures

Secondary schools are measured on the number of pupils that take GCSEs in these core subjects. Schools are also measured on how well their pupils do in these subjects.

Pupils’ attainment is calculated as an average point score, meaning that all results at all grades count towards the EBacc.

To calculate a school’s EBacc average point score we:

  • add together the EBacc average point score for all pupils at the end of key stage 4
  • divide by the number of pupils in the group

To calculate a pupil’s average point score we take an average of the points scored in the 5 EBacc subject areas. The EBacc is a performance measure for schools, not a qualification for pupils. Pupils’ individual average point scores are not published.

EBacc impact

The EBacc is made up of the subjects which are considered essential to many degrees and open up lots of doors.

Research shows that a pupil’s socio-economic background impacts the subjects they choose at GCSE, and that this determines their opportunities beyond school.

A study by the UCL Institute of Education shows that studying subjects included in the EBacc provides students with greater opportunities in further education and increases the likelihood that a pupil will stay on in full-time education. Sutton Trust research reveals that studying the EBacc can help improve a young person’s performance in English and maths.

The government’s ambition is to see 75% of pupils studying the EBacc subject combination at GCSE by 2022, and 90% by 2025.