HC Deb 10 March 1981 vol 1000 cc747-8
12. Mr. Butcher

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will require subjects taken and grades achieved in public examinations to be published by secondary schools.

Dr. Boyson

My right hon. and learned Friend is proposing to do so.

Mr. Butcher

Is my hon. Friend aware that his unequivocal statement will be welcomed by the vast majority of parents and that the provision of the information will be of great benefit to the education service as a whole?

Dr. Boyson

I agree entirely. It is the intention that each maintained school will provide annually the most recently available grading results obtained by pupils in GCE and CSE examinations and will also show the number of pupils in the relevant age groups.

Mr. Cryer

Does the Minister accept that exam results are not the sole criterion of good education standards? Is he aware that, by adopting that policy, he is trying to turn maintained schools into the shoddy little private prep schools that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends so much favour?

Dr. Boyson

I have never taught in or sent my children to these"little private prep schools", which must be found in the hon. Gentleman's area. I agree entirely that, as well as academic standards, sport, art, music and the relationship between staff and children are also important in schools. However, a pupil will not go to university unless he first gets O and A-levels.

Mr. Alexander

Does my hon. Friend accept that under the comprehensive system there are good schools and poor schools? Does he also accept that the publication of examination results, together with our policies on parental choice, can only benefit the good schools?

Dr Boyson

I agree entirely. There are good comprehensive schools, many of which will be glad to have their results known publicly. As my hon. Friend knows, I had the privilege to be the head of one such comprehensive school.

Mr. Flannery

Why is the Minister so coy about private schools? Why is it only maintained schools that will have to publish their results, when the Minister knows that such schools vary according to area, no matter how good the teaching? Is it not a fact that all except two members of the Cabinet went to private schools and that it intends to help those schools at the expense of maintained schools?

Dr. Boyson

I never knew that I was coy, but perhaps compared with the hon. Gentleman I am. Private schools involved in the assisted places scheme will also have to publish their results. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to know what is happening in such schools, he should support the assisted places scheme instead of complaining about it.