HC Deb 05 February 1985 vol 72 cc518-9W
Mr. Hanley

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to help teachers in secondary schools and colleges to prepare for the introduction of the General Certificate of Secondary Education.

Sir Keith Joseph

I wrote on 21 December 1984 to the chairman of the Secondary Examinations Council, Sir Wilfred Cockcroft, setting out proposals for a special programme of in-service support and training for teachers of General Certificate of Secondary Education examination courses. The aim is to give teachers as much help as possible in preparation for the introduction of the new examination.

The programme will concentrate on the national criteria, subject by subject, techniques of differentiated assessment, and the setting and assessment of course work, practical and oral work. It will require close cooperation between all the partners concerned — the examining groups, the Secondary Examinations Council, local education authorities and schools and colleges.

The intention is that the examining groups should conduct seminars of two or two and a half days for subject representatives nominated by local education authorities, schools and colleges, and that these subject representatives should then conduct similar seminars for all other teachers of GCSE courses. I see these seminars as the first step in a continuing programme of in-service support for GCSE teachers. To ensure that they derive maximum benefit from the seminars, the Secondary Examinations Council will arrange, in collaboration with the examining groups, for the preparation of GCSE teacher manuals, subject by subject, and of videos where appropriate. The manuals and videos will be available to all teachers of GCSE courses and will be designed to be of continuing value to teachers as works of reference when teaching GCSE courses.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I propose, subject to the approval of Parliament, to make an additional grant to the Secondary Examinations Council of £675,000 in 1985–86 and £185,000 in 1986–87. This will enable the council to co-ordinate the preparation and dissemination of the GCSE teacher manuals and videos and to make a substantial contribution towards the costs of the examining groups in providing the seminars for subject representatives. I also propose, again subject to the approval of Parliament, to extend the in-service teacher training grants scheme to support expenditure of £6 million on the cost to LEAs of sending subject representatives from schools and colleges to attend the seminars provided by the examining groups.

Copies of my letter to Sir Wilfred Cockcroft have been placed in the Library.