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General Certificate Of Secondary Education

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 28 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on the progress of the GCSE examination.

Last September some 600,000 pupils started courses which will lead to the first GCSE examinations in the summer of 1988. These courses have got off to a satisfactory start. The vast majority of teachers are committed to making a success of the new examination and the majority of lessons are deemed to be of an adequate quality and standard.

How can the Minister stand before the House and give such a complacent reply, which is so obviously at variance with the views of the majority of people in education, who believe that there has been insufficient preparation for the GCSE and that insufficient resources are available for the examination? How does he equate the £100 per student figure which the Secretary of State claims is the figure, with Lancashire county council's figure, which is nearer £30?

Opposition Members ought to behave better than that. Continually to run down a major and successful change in the examination structure of this country simply will not do.