10 DEC 2011

Christopher Pincher Raises Academic Rigour with Prime Minister

Christopher Pincher, Member of Parliament for Tamworth, on Wednesday called upon Prime Minister David Cameron to reintroduce rigour in our examination system in Prime Ministers Questions. This is Mr Pincher's third PMQ since becoming the Member of Parliament for Tamworth in 2010.

Mr. Pincher asked the PM:

"What action is my right hon. Friend taking to reintroduce rigour into the education system and end the ridiculous situation under the previous Government of 22% of students doing proper academic studies?"

The Prime Minister responded by saying:

"The Education Secretary is doing a superb job of focusing schools on results, including in English and maths, ensuring that we look at the English baccalaureate, which includes the core subjects that employers and colleges really value, and doing some simple and straightforward things that were not done for 13 years, such as ensuring that punctuation and grammar actually count when someone does an exam"

After PMQs Mr. Pincher added:

"I am pleased that the Prime Minister has acknowledged the importance of rigour in our education system. Unfortunately under Labour the quality of our science education dropped from being 4th in the world to 16th. Similar drops were seen in literacy and mathematical teaching. This could have a real detrimental effect on the prospects of our students who leave school in a more competitive world than ever. The Coalition has been working hard to bring back academic standards in our schools that suffered under the Labour administration. "

"The Prime Minister also acknowledged the importance of traditional academic subjects being taught at school. By studying traditional subjects like History and Physics students have an advantage in their applications for university or employment because these are subjects favoured by employers and universities alike. Subjects 'fashionable' under Labour condemned too many of our youth to poor prospects. I am pleased to say that since Michael Gove became the Education Secretary the number of students studying history, geography and modern languages has risen by 25 percent. The number of students studying physics, chemistry and biology has risen by more than 80 percent. This is given British students the right qualifications to have a competitive edge in the globalised university and employment markets."

"Furthermore, the Government is stressing the subject knowledge instead of exam knowledge and enforcing the awarding of marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar in every examination. It is also working to enhance the "status and prestige" of the teaching profession and attract the best graduates from university to pass on their knowledge to the next generation."

"Finally I would like to congratulate all Tamworth schools on their results this August and Greenacres School for applying for Academy Status. And I look forward to welcoming Rawlett students into Parliament this week and I encourage other schools to also visit Westminster."

Mr. Pincher is also enthusiastic about the latest education proposals and wants to see rigour reintroduced into syllabuses and examinations to help the next generation succeed in the future. He has recently met with the Chief Executive of AQA to discuss his concerns with the examination system and has written to the other examination boards about the same issues. Mr Pincher has written to Nick Gibb MP, the Schools Minister, about examinations and looks forward to their responses.

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