HC Deb 29 May 1963 vol 678 cc155-6W
Sir K. Thompson

asked the Minister of Education what proposals he has for a new schools council concerned with the curriculum and examinations; and if he will make a statement.

Sir E. Boyle

A year ago. my predecessor announced the setting up within the Ministry of Education of a new unit known as the Curriculum Study Group. His object was to extend the advisory service traditionally offered by H.M. Inspectors, and so help the schools undertake the task of constantly adjusting curriculum and examinations to meet changing general and individual needs.

During the past year the Group has worked in close collaboration with teachers and local education authorities on a number of projects. In the main, however, this collaboration has been informal and the necessary arrangements have been made on an ad hoc basis for each project. The one exception is the work which the Group have carried out on behalf of the Secondary School Examinations Council, particularly in connection with the new Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. In this context, a close working relationship has been established between the Group and a body which is fully representative of all the partners in the education service.

I am now proposing to the association of teachers and local education authorities, and to a number of other bodies concerned, that this relationship between the Group and a fully representative Council should be extended to cover all aspects of the curriculum and examinations in both primary and secondary schools. In practice, this would mean setting up a new Schools Council for the Curriculum and Examinations, and making the services of the Curriculum Studs Group available to it to provide a secretariat and such full time study teams as were needed to give the work of the Council adequate professional support.

My hon. Friend will not, I am sure, expect me to go into details at this stage since these must be a matter for consultation once the proposal has been agreed in principle. I am however suggesting to the associations that a meeting to discuss the main outlines of the proposals might he held before the Summer Recess, and it may be possible to make a further announcement after that meeting.