HC Deb 22 November 1951 vol 494 cc546-7
22. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education the percentage of pupils who passed the examination for the General Certificate of Education in 1951.

Miss Horsbrugh

The information about the numbers of entries and passes in the different subjects at the ordinary and advanced levels of the General Certificate of Education will not be available until early in the New Year.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Minister aware that the National Union of Teachers are holding divisional meetings upon this very question and that specialist teachers have been expressing the view that the standards are high and that the examination is leading to undue specialisation in a few subjects, the very opposite to what we hoped to achieve through this new examination?

Miss Horsbrugh

I am aware that that is being said, and I am sorry that the hopes of a great many people have been dashed. We must certainly look into the whole subject.

Mr. C. J. M. Alport

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the "Daily Herald" greeted this examination with the slogan that it was an examination which no one could fail? In the event of anyone failing, does she not agree that this will gravely shake the confidence of youth in the promises of the late Government?

28. Mr. John E. Crowder

asked the Minister of Education if she will amend the Regulations so as to enable children to sit for the General Certificate of Education before reaching the age of 16 years; and if she will reintroduce a distinction mark for this examination.

Miss Horsbrugh

I have not yet had time to consider this problem in all its aspects, but my hon. Friend may rest assured that it is my intention to do so.

Mr. Hastings

Will the right hon. Lady also keep in mind the serious danger of pressing children at too early an age?

Miss Horsbrugh

Most certainly. I think the whole matter has got to be reviewed. We do not want to press the children at too early an age. Nor do we want to keep them back.