Eight in 10 heads say EBacc is limiting opportunities for less academic children

More than eight in 10 headteachers say the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) performance measure is limiting opportunities for their more vocationally minded pupils, according to a poll.

The new report, which comes as students sit their GCSE exams, reveals widespread concern that pupils with vocational talent are being failed by an increasingly academic school system.

It comes days after the Conservatives pledged in their manifesto to have at least 90 per cent of students studying the EBacc – a group of academic subjects – by 2025 if they win power.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of secondary school leaders in England say the school system should provide better outcomes for their vocationally and technically minded pupils, according to the report from The Key – an organisation that provides leadership support to schools.

It also reveals that provision in vocational and technical education, which includes subjects such as catering, construction and engineering, has become weaker in more than half (56 per cent) of secondary schools since 2014 because of changes to the school system.

And more than two-fifths (43 per cent) think splitting the curriculum into academic and vocational/technical streams would provide a solution.

According to the survey of more than 1,100 headteachers, 78 per cent said they have seen an increase in fear of academic failure among pupils since 2014.

One secondary school leader said: “How do you measure a child’s success? With their academic progress. The whole system is set up for that and if you’re not academic, you are seen as failing.”

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