HC Deb 06 February 1969 vol 777 cc564-5
17. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many presentations there were for "O" level examinations in England and Wales, shown as a percentage of the school populations, in the years 1962 to 1968, respectively; and in the same period what was the percentage of passes.

Mr. Edward Short

With permission, I will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT figures for subject entries, the percentage of passes, and the number of candidates from schools, in the period 1962 to 1967. The figures show a steadily rising percentage of passes.

Mr. Eadie

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the introduction of comprehensive education has widened the gateway to educational opportunity for our children? Does he further agree that it is now a fact, not an assertion, that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of children making presentations for and obtaining passes in the "O" level certificate qualification?

Mr. Short

I agree with my hon. Friend that the introduction of comprehensive schools throughout the country has made a dramatic change in the numbers of students who take the "O" and "A" level examinations. It will be one of the factors in the great explosion of demand for higher education in the early 1970s.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there has been any significant change in the numbers taking "'O" levels as between the sciences and the arts?

Mr. Short

I think that recently there has been a swing back, but we should like to see a bigger swing back.

Following is the information:

Subject entries Passes Percentage
1962 1,832,949 1,050,851 57.3
1963 2,185,310 1,242,286 56.8
1964 2,195,162 1,264,259 57.6
1965 2,170,019 1,257,683 58.0
1966 2,119,824 1,252,413 59.1
1967 2,119,879 1,256,480 59.3
Number of school candidates
1962 329,276
1963 389,220
1964 394,535
1965 396,257
1966 389,172
1967 400,458

Figures for 1968 are not yet available.