§ Dame Jill Knight
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions his Department has had with the Secondary Examinations Council about its decision to withhold its approval for inclusion in the general certificate of secondary education of the syllabus entitled "English as a Second Language"; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The Department is aware of the Secondary Examinations Council's decision, which will not affect pupils already embarked on syllabuses. I understand that the chairman of the council has written explaining the council's reason, and my right hon. Friend will respond when he receives that letter. However, in his view all pupils awarded a GCSE certificate in English need to have aspired to the same standards, and the introduction of a special version of English would be detrimental to the interests of those pupils seeking the qualification and to the responsibilities of schools to ensure that all pupils achieve a good standard in English.