HL Deb 26 January 1984 vol 447 cc336-7

3.17 p.m.

Lord Orr-Ewing

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied that all schools are fulfilling the requirement to make available examination results to the general public.

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, individual schools have a duty in law under the Education (School Information) Regulations to provide parents and others with information on examination results and other matters. If my noble friend is aware of any schools failing in this duty I hope that he will bring them to my attention.

Lord Orr-Ewing

My Lords, following the recent speech by the Secretary of State in Sheffield, can my noble friend say how long the Government estimate it will now take to change the examination marking system from relative to absolute standards?

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, I should think rather a long time.

Lord Sandys

My Lords, arising out of that reply, can my noble friend advise the House whether in considering this matter he will bear in mind the Parents' Charter which is written into the 1980 Education Act?

The Earl of Swinton

Yes, my Lords. Of course the original Question is very much part of this. A requirement to publish information is part of the package of measures intended to help parents make informed choices in regard to schools for their children. This will be very much borne in mind.

Lord Gisborough

My Lords, does the noble Minister accept that the number of people leaving school who still cannot read or write is not quite so funny as the Minister perhaps suggests.

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, I do not think I suggested that it was in the least funny at any stage. In fact when we had a Question on this the other day we went into great detail, and the Government are very concerned about it.

Lord Taylor of Blackburn

My Lords, can the Minister not tell us whether it is left to the governors of the school to make the final decision as to whether or not a list is published?

The Earl of Swinton

No, my Lords, it is not left to the governors at all. I can show the noble Lord the statutory instrument of 1981, No. 630, which is available to all Members of the House, which very definitely says that it is the law of the country that this information shall be made public.

Lord Alexander of Potterhill

My Lords, I wonder whether the Minister can help the House by telling Members what marking according to absolute standards means, because I do not understand it?

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, I do not think I can help the House. If the noble Lord, Lord Alexander, does not understand it, I am quite certain I do not.