HC Deb 11 May 1993 vol 224 c644
13. Dr. Goodson-Wickes

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what studies he has made into the treatment of dyslexic children in examinations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth

The results of a three-year research project on special educational needs and the GCSE, commissioned by the School Examinations and Assessment Council and undertaken by the centre for assessment studies at Bristol university, is due to report to the council this summer. The research report is expected to address the position of candidates suffering from various disabilities, including dyslexia.

Dr. Goodson-Wickes

I understand that there are wide variations in the policies and practices of examination boards in the treatment of dyslexic children. Will the Minister give the House an assurance that their special needs will be recognised, especially in relation to concessions taking into account psychologists' reports so that that untapped talented group of people can achieve its full potential?

Mr. Forth

My hon. Friend asks an important question. At the moment, the examining groups try, wherever possible, to take the fullest possible account of children with disabilities and difficulties, in particular dyslexia. They try to strike that difficult balance between an examining and testing process that does justice to all pupils and one that takes proper account of those with particular special needs. I will certainly look again at the matter in order to satisfy myself that the examining groups are treating it properly, but I believe that, generally speaking, they have probably got the balance about right.