Core Principles

The National Baccalaureate for England

The National Baccalaureate for England is underpinned by six core principles.


Every young person is a valued member of our diverse society on an equal basis and is entitled to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attributes required to allow them to make the maximum contribution possible. The NBfE is a universal framework providing paths to success and fulfilment for all young people in all educational contexts, including those with special educational needs.


Every young person is capable of significant achievements and successes in multiple domains each of which deserve recognition as part of a broad and deep holistic education where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


The NBfE should support provision of a rigorous and demanding set of learning experiences that provide appropriate levels of challenge for all learners in their context.


The NBfE is a framework that encompasses traditional subject disciplines in addition to an entitlement to personal development opportunities that are physical, creative and cultural and include elements of community service and extended enquiry*.


A framework that embraces an appropriate degree of specialisation in vocational and academic subject disciplines alongside wider personal development and extended enquiry.


A framework that ensures every young person receives a multi-faceted education which is deeper and richer for the value given to each component and the connections made between them.

The National Baccalaureate for England ensures young people develop four key capacities.

A baccalaureate-based programme should ensure that every young person is able to gain the knowledge, skills and personal attributes required to become:

  • ambitious, knowledgeable, inquiring learners, ready to learn throughout their lives
  • enterprising, creative contributors , ready to play a full part in life and work
  • responsible, principled and informed citizens of their community, England and the world
  • healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society

The National Baccalaureate for England framework gives recognition to the full range of a young person’s achievements and learning experiences including formal qualifications and all aspects of their personal development.

^These four capacities directly echo those embedded in the curriculum reforms in Wales (Successful Futures) and in Scotland (Curriculum for Excellence) and overlap significantly with the ten elements of the IB Learner Profile This is a deliberate attempt at wider coherence within the UK.

*It is recognised that the school curriculum in England is guided at least in part by the National Curriculum. The NC document states: ”The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said, and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement:

a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of [young people] and of society,
b) prepares [young people] for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The National Baccalaureate for England: Key Elements.

The framework for the NBfE can be expressed in very simple terms, allowing for a very wide range of alternative models to be developed to meet the needs of learners in different contexts, whilst always delivering on the core principles and the key capacities of learners.

Essentially the model has three key elements:

Core Learning

Subject-based learning Including, but not exclusively, the National Curriculum subjects Formal vocational and academic qualifications from national awarding bodies.

Personal Project

An opportunity to engage in an extended enquiry leading to a significant final product demonstrating a range of skills, knowledge and personal attributes.

Personal Development Programme

A formal programme recording each learner’s engagement in a range of activities that complement their core learning. To include an element of service, creativity, physical activity and cultural activity.

This model can be applied at any Key Stage and can be adapted to provide appropriate challenge for students of all levels.

The table below illustrates how the model can be applied to allow schools and colleges of all kinds to deliver a National Baccalaureate for England curriculum. Terminal completion of the National Baccalaureate for England will be awarded at Advanced, Intermediate, Foundation and Entry Levels.

Programme Core Learning Personal Project Personal Development Programme Completion Award
14-19 Secondary L3: A Levels, BTECs:
Extended Project Qualification L2/L3 100-150 hours of logged activities. Advanced, Intermediate or Foundation Baccalaureate.
16-19 Vocational/FE NVQs, Techlevels,
TechBacc ®
EPQ as above, industry-specific project or embedded in qualifications. 100-150 hours of logged activities. Advanced, Intermediate or Foundation Baccalaureate
Primary Primary National Curriculum School -defined personal project – accredited where possible. 100 hours of logged activities The Primary Baccalaureate
Special School Tailored learning programme according to identified needs. Centre-defined personal project – accredited where possible. 100 hours of logged activities Intermediate, Foundation or Entry Level Baccalaureate
KS3 Secondary KS3 National Curriculum School-defined personal project – accredited where possible. 100-150 hours of logged activities Key Stage 3 Baccalaureate.