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The Core

Plasma core picture.The core component of the Modern Baccalaureate is an unrestricted celebration of attainment, in the main subjects specified in the National Curriculum, including vocational and technical, regulated qualifications.

A guiding principle behind the core ModBac transcript is captured in a key recommendation from the March 2011 Wolf Report on Vocational Education.

Recommendation 2:
At Key Stage 4, schools should be free to offer any qualifications they wish from a regulated Awarding Body whether or not these are approved for performance measurement purposes, subject to statutory/health and safety requirements.”

ModBac recognises the primacy of English and Maths GCSEs, and a Science qualification at the heart of a balanced qualification offer (we expect a Science qualification to be part of the “best eight” of every learner). ModBac also recognises the pressure that schools will be under to conform to the new restrictions introduced regarding what qualifications count in performance measures from 2014 onwards.

ModBac acknowledges that a curriculum entitlement will be built around qualifications that ensure a “best eight” set that meet the new requirements, and embraces the vision of a broad and balanced curriculum 14+, ideally encompassing the subject disciplines of humanities, languages, technology and expressive arts. This is in line with the key aims and objectives of the Better Bacc movement, and government’s current position of a “broad academic curriculum” at the heart of 11-16 learning.

However, ModBac also acknowledges that a significant number of learners will not be served well by a diet of GCSEs alone, and that the current decisions made to restrict the range of qualifications that “count” in school performance measures could be considered unduly harsh.

ModBac also recognises the power of some qualifications “outside the performance measures” to significantly raise performance “inside the performance measures”, and to engage and motivate learners through the explicit accreditation of personal skills and personal development.

Therefore, ModBac places no restrictions on the qualifications that can count. School leaders therefore have the freedom to meet learner needs as expressed in Wolf Recommendation 2.

High Standards – High Expectations

The ModBac applies  principles to the Core grading scheme that are designed to overcome some of the weaknesses in the current national examination system. Consistency of  performance is valued. For example, to get the highest ModBac core grade at Intermediate requires 6 A* graded subjects and at least GCSE grade C passes in Mathematics and English. We think this greater level of demand goes some way to redress the under-expectation of the brightest students by a system limited to Level 2 qualifications at age 16.

For a Distinction* in the core at level 3 in the ModBac Advanced, candidates need A* equivalency in 2/3 of their credits and at least a pass in the remaining third. A student taking a vocational qualification in engineering worth 2/3 of the credit could take A level maths for the other 1/3. If they get a distinction in the vocational credit but only a pass in A level maths they still get a distinction overall because 2/3 of the credit is at distinction level. This will hopefully encourage take up of maths A level to support vocational courses with the risk that weaker A level students will drop maths altogether, reduced.

Highly Inclusive and Aspirational

However, ModBac is also designed to be fully inclusive, and encourage participation. At the lower levels similar principles apply and the system encourages progression between levels. ModBac at Entry Level is an accessible outcome for nearly every SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) learner in any educational setting. Foundation Level ModBac encourages transition to Intermediate and beyond.

All qualifications count!

MiniBac and MidBac: Core Grades Incentivise PROGRESS

The Core in MiniBac and MidBac celebrates the progress made by learners in relation to their national curriculum subjects. This reflects the emphasis in the new OFSTED inspection system where schools need to be able to demonstrate that they add value by supporting good or outstanding progress for their learners. Mini and Midbac provide a framework on which schools can reference their evidence for individual progress. The Modbac provides comprehensive on-line progress tracking facilities at no additional charge for schools that want to use it.