Unlike the GCSE, International GCSEs, including French, have been designed primarily as a qualification for overseas candidates and are not aligned to the national curriculum programmes of study at Key Stage 4. They have not, therefore, been approved by the Secretary of State under Section 96 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 as an external qualification for use with pupils in maintained secondary schools. The GCSE remains the principal means of assessing pupil attainment at the end of compulsory schooling in maintained schools; there are no current plans to change this. The Department recently launched an e- consultation on IGCSEs to seek the views of the wider community on the issues for IGCSEs in the maintained sector. The consultation will run until 23 February 2007. The consultation can be accessed at: www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations.