HC Deb 11 July 1977 vol 935 cc16-7
14. Mr. Michael Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received recently about educational standards in Welsh primary and secondary schools.

Mr. Barry Jones

In the course of the present national debate on education. many individuals and bodies have made known to us their views on standards. Full account will be taken of these in the forthcoming consultative document.

Mr. Michael Roberts

Does the Minister agree that examinations, when properly set, can play a part in the maintenance of standards? Is he aware of Press criticisms of the recent CSE English paper, which is probably more suited to be a trade test for prison service than an English examination for schools? Is he satisfied that the WJEC is making the maximum contribution to the maintenance of standards in our schools?

Mr. Barry Jones

We have no responsibility for the WJEC, which has a fine reputation. As for the specific examination paper to which the hon. Gentleman referred, I have seen it and it is not the sort of paper I should like a child of mine to sit. To put it mildly, it caused me great astonishment and I would rather that the paper had not been set.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Within the structure of the WJEC, is not the setting of this type of paper the responsibility of the teachers' panel? Can the Minister say who could look into the setting of this particular examination paper, of which I am delighted to hear he so strongly disapproves?

Mr. Barry Jones

The hon. Gentleman might wish to ask the WJEC about how the paper got out. I would reassure him that I take the same view as he does. It was a macabre theme and in the widest sense quite tasteless.