§ Mr. Soames
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the principal achievements of his Department in the education field in 1984.
§ Sir Keith Joseph
The principal achievements have been to set in hand the processes needed for the raising of standards at all ability levels and to continue seeking better value for money throughout the education system. The following measures have been taken to these ends:
In the SchoolsThe definition, in the speech I made at the north of England Conference in Sheffield in January 1984, of longer-term objectives for the schools; and the consequential discussions and reactions;The decision to introduce the General Certificate of Secondary Education within a framework of national criteria and criteria-related grades;The decision to introduce, after pilot schemes, records of achievement for school-leavers of all abilities;The issuing of a consultative paper proposing the introduction of Advanced Supplementary (AS) level examination.The Green Paper "Parental Influence in Schools" (Cmnd. 9242), which proposed the reform of school government. The many comments received are now under consideration.
TeachersThe establishment of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, to evaluate teacher training courses;The publication by the Department of a discussion paper on school-teacher numbers and deployment in the longer term.
Non-Advanced Further EducationThe establishment of a scheme of in-service training grants for further education lecturers;The establishment of College-Employer Links Projects in eight Local Education Authorities.
Higher EducationThe admission to higher education of record numbers of students and also of full-time home students;Endorsement of the plans of the National Advisory Body for Local Authority Higher Education for the funding and disposition of academic provision in 1985 –86. These provide for a continuation of the significant shift towards science and engineering and other vocational subjects, and for the more efficient use of constrained resources generally, in the public sector of higher education.
Education Support GrantsThe provision of grant to support up to £30 million of expenditure on selected activities of national education importance, as provided for under the Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984.