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Education Standards

Volume 22: debated on Tuesday 20 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on how he intends to see that the educational needs of the bottom 40 per cent. of school pupils in achievement are adequately met.

There is a strong case for a greater practical slant in the curriculum for all pupils, especially in the last two years of compulsory education, and the less academically proficient pupils are not necessarily best served by a diluted form of the traditional curriculum. While I am not yet ready to declare what particular measures might be most helpful, I am treating this as a matter of high priority.

I welcome the fact that my right hon. Friend accords high priority to this important area of educational provision, but is he prepared to consider sympathetically the idea of having a sort of certificate of satisfactory educational performance for pupils who leave school, especially those who do not have the opportunity to take either CSE or GCE examinations?

Yes. I shall certainly consider such an idea sympathetically, although I cannot make a commitment without exploring all the implications.

Does the Secretary of State agree that the efficacy of any system of education is decided by the degree to which it meets the needs of all its pupils? Does he agree that the educational implications of post-war secondary education for all have never been worked out properly?

If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to agree that we do not have a perfect educational system in terms of providing what each individual needs, I do so. I am not sure of the implications of his question. Perhaps he will write to me about it.