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Teachers' Dispute

Volume 86: debated on Wednesday 13 November 1985

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29.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the impact of the dispute in Scottish schools on the examination prospects for students in 1986.

I have placed in the Library of the House a letter of 5 November from the Scottish Examination Board to schools and education authorities which states its position in the light of the boycott of Scottish Certificate of Education and Certificate of Sixth Year Studies examination procedures announced by the Educational Institute of Scotland. This makes clear that, while not minimising the threat posed by the boycott, the board is resolved to do everything in its power to ensure that the 1986 examinations are held, that candidate's work is assessed and that awards are made. I share the board's resolve and commend its advice that candidates should continue with their studies.Separately, the Scottish Examination Board has indicated to me that it will be considering what arrangements for examination appeals might be most appropriate in 1986 in order to be as fair as possible to all candidates while fully maintaining the board's standards.In particular, the board has in mind the possibility of permitting parents or candidates themselves to apply directly for a re-marking of their examination scripts although no decisions have yet been taken and no retrospective changes can be made for 1985.The EIS sanctions extend to Certificate of Secondary Education courses administered by the North Regional Examination Board (NREB) and taken by a number of pupils in Scotland. The NREB has indicated that it will carry out its normal procedures but that the nature of the courses involved is likely to mean that, without teacher co-operation, final certification will be impossible.I deeply regret the EIS decision and also the decision of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association announced yesterday to support a more limited boycott. I hope that, in the interests of their pupils, teachers will nevertheless carry out examination procedures normally.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the teaching unions to discuss the current dispute; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend and I last met representatives of the teachers' panel on 27 September. I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend on 22 October at column 161.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress there has been in talks on the teachers' strike in Scotland.

I refer to my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 22 October at column 161. The discussions with teachers' representatives are continuing.