Research and analysis

The English Baccalaureate and GCSE choices: brief

Report assessing the effects of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) on secondary schools in England.



The EBacc was introduced as a performance measure in the 2010 performance tables. The measure recognises where pupils have secured a ‘C’ grade or better in GCSEs or accredited international GCSEs (iGCSEs) across a core of subjects - English, mathematics, two sciences, history or geography and a language (including Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) or ancient languages).

By introducing this performance measure, the government hopes that more pupils will be offered the chance to take a broad core of more traditional academic options.

The survey was administered to a representative sample of 1500 maintained secondary schools (stratified by region, establishment type and the % of pupils who received free school meals). A letter was sent to the headteacher of all the sampled schools explaining about the survey and giving them the option to complete the survey online, or to wait for a phone call from a NatCen interviewer. Fieldwork took place from 23 June to 21 July 2011.

In total, 692 schools took part (578 by phone and 114 online) - a response rate of 46%. The schools responding were representative of all secondary schools in England.