§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he expects the QCA to give final approval for the specifications submitted to it by awarding bodies for new A and AS level courses; and when he expects specimen papers, specifications and marking schemes to be circulated to schools. 
§ Mr. Mudie
[holding answer 4 May 1999]: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority intends to produce by September 1999 synopses of all proposed AS and A level specifications to be introduced for teaching from September 2000. After final approval, the new specifications, together with sample assessment materials and marking schemes, will be published and distributed to schools and colleges by the awarding bodies in December 1999. Although the final specifications will not be available until later in the year, I understand that the awarding bodies plan to make detailed information on their draft specifications available to schools and colleges as soon as possible after they have been submitted to QCA later this Spring.