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Future Of The Schools Council: Proposed New Bodies

Volume 22: debated on Thursday 22 April 1982

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1. This note gives details about the two bodies proposed in the statement made by the Secretary of State for Education and Science on 22 April.

Examinations Council

2. This would co-ordinate and supervise the conduct of examinations at 16-plus and 18-plus. Its functions will be:

  • (a) in regard to the activities of the GCE and CSE boards:
    • —to ensure that syllabuses and procedures for assessment at 16-plus are in accordance with the national criteria which are to be proposed by the boards and considered by the Secretaries of State,
    • —to approve new A-level syllabuses and revisions to existing syllabuses,
    • —to monitor the comparability of standards of both 16-plus and 18-plus examinations,
    • —to engage in research necessary in support of these activities,
    • —to consider appeals by individuals;
  • (b) to advise the Secretaries of State on the validity of national criteria for examinations at 16-plus and generally on how the examination system, at both 16-plus and generally on how the examination system, at both 16-plus and 18-plus, can best serve the needs of the education service and its clients.
  • 3. This body would be formed of about 10 to 15 people drawn from within and outside education, appointed in a personal capacity and unpaid, of good standing in their fields and reflecting a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience. The body will carry out its difficult and important functions through an expert staff. The members will be appointed by the Secretaries of State, after consultation with the interests involved. The body will be funded by the Government.
    School Curriculum Development Council

    4. Its functions would be:

  • a. to inform itself broadly of what curriculum development is currently going on,
  • b. to judge its adequacy and to identify gaps and likely future needs,
  • c. to stimulate, within a modest budget, work to meet the identified needs, and
  • d. to promote the dissemination of curriculum innovation, whether stemming from its own work or from that of others, where adequate means do not already exist.
  • 5. The body might have a majority of teachers in a total membership of about 20, appointed by the Secretaries of State in a personal capacity and unpaid. Some two-thirds of the teachers might be selected from lists of names submitted by the teachers' organisations, and these lists, together with names proposed by other bodies, would also be taken into account in appointing the remaining teacher members. Other members would be appointed to reflect appropriate interests: in particular the local education authorities, further and higher education, industry and commerce. Departmental officials would not be members of the council, but the Secretaries of State would wish to appoint assessors.

    6. The Secretaries of State propose that its funding will be partly by the Government and partly by the local authorities collectively. Some of the Government funding would be by way of specific commissions.

    7. The council would appoint its own staff.