HC Deb 10 May 1988 vol 133 c67W
Mr. Straw

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement about the number of mode 2 and mode 3 GCSE syllabuses scrutinised by the Secondary Examinations Council which have failed to meet the appropriate standard and about those procedures for scrutiny.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

All GCSE syllabuses in use in schools have been approved for 1988 and 1989 examinations against the relevant GCSE national criteria.

The Secondary Examinations Council approved the mode 1 syllabuses in the 20 main subjects, accounting for over 90 per cent. of estimated entries for the 1988 examinations. The GCSE examining groups approved the remaining mode 1 syllabuses, and all mode 2 and 3 syllabuses. The mode 2 and 3 syllabuses are likely to account for less than 5 per cent. of entries. The GCSE examining groups comprise the independent school examination boards, which bore sole responsibility for approving O-level and CSE syllabuses.

For 1990 examinations, all syllabuses in the 20 main subjects, including mode 2 and 3, will need SEC approval. So far the SEC has approved, for 1990 examinations, 19 of about 450 mode 2 and 3 syllabuses in the 20 main subjects which have been brought to its attention. We estimate that about 95 per cent. of entries in that year will be for syllabuses approved by the SEC.