§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the development of the revised syllabus for GNVQ at Advanced Level for implementation by schools and colleges in the autumn, with particular reference to the assessment regime. 
§ Mr. Wicks
[holding answer 17 February 2000]: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is currently in the process of finalising the accreditation of the revised Advanced GNVQ specifications to be introduced for teaching in September 2000. Draft specifications are already available via the QCA's and the awarding bodies' websites.
The rigour of the Advanced GNVQ assessment regime will be significantly upgraded to ensure that standards are equivalent with GCE A level. In particular, the new specifications have been written to a more demanding standard; there will be a higher proportion of external testing; there will be revised A-E grading scale; and candidates will be limited to one opportunity to re-sit each unit, as for A level. We announced on 16 February that Advanced GNVQs would be known as "vocational A levels" with effect from September to reflect these important reforms.