HC Deb 24 June 1965 vol 714 cc1924-5
17. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why some pupils in Leicestershire Education Authority schools have to complete their general certificate of education examinations in holiday time; and whether he will arrange for all examining boards in the country to bring forward their examination dates to prevent this happening.

Mr. Prentice

I understand that the dates of the trade holidays for Leicester and Leicestershire were fixed after certain of the examination timetables were settled by the responsible examining authorities. In the case of some schools the dates fixed by the responsible bodies did not clash with the trade holidays, and one examining body was able to offer alternative arrangements.

My right hon. Friend recently published proposals for general changes in the dates of G.C.E. examinations to avoid this kind of difficulty and give greater scope for staggered holidays. Comments were invited from all the bodies concerned and he expects to have received replies from them all by the end of next month.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful to the Minister of State for that detailed reply. Is he aware that the London University G.C.E. Examining Board is the only examining board which has not fallen into line at the moment? The result is that a large number of pupils in Leicestershire now have to take their examinations during their holidays.

Mr. Prentice

I am afraid that it is too late to do anything about the examination this year, but we have had assurances that all the examining bodies which carry out examinations in Leicester or Leicestershire have now agreed that their examinations next year will be completed by the end of June. This is apart from the wider operation which I mentioned in my original reply.