The Beloe Report (1960)
Secondary School Examinations other than the GCE
Report of a Committee appointed by the Secondary School Examinations Council in July 1958
London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1960
© Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.
Notes on the text
Robert Beloe was Surrey's Chief Education Officer from 1940 to 1959.
This report was produced by an eight-member Committee of the Secondary School Examinations Council (SSEC), appointed in July 1958 to study the question of examinations other than the General Certificate of Education (GCE) in secondary schools. It was published in July 1960 by Minister of Education David Eccles at the suggestion of the SSEC.
It recommended the creation of a new system of exams for less academic 15 year olds, to run alongside the existing GCE O Levels. As a result, the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) was introduced in 1965.
The report online
The complete report is presented in a single web page.
The tables are presented here as images and are embedded in the text where they were in the original.
I have corrected a dozen or so printing errors.
Summary of the report's main recommendations
- any new exams should be appropriate for pupils aged 16;
- assuming that 20 per cent of pupils take GCE, the new exams should be suitable for the next 20 per cent;
- the new exams should be taken on a subject and not a group basis;
- they should suit the needs and interests of pupils in the ability range concerned and should not be a watered-down version of the GCE;
- they should be largely in the hands of teachers, who would serve (with others) on about 20 regional examining bodies which would act under the general guidance of a central consultative body;
- the Minister should invite applications from intending examining bodies, which might include groups of teachers and local education authorities;
- fees paid should be sufficient to attract suitable examiners;
- in addition to overseeing the regional examining bodies, the central consultative body should promote research and experiment. It might be a standing committee of the SSEC;
- the new exams would normally be held in May (before GCE exams), and the certificates would be known as Secondary School Certificates of the examining body concerned;
- the results should prove valuable to employers and to principals of technical colleges and others concerned with selection for further education courses;
- there are good reasons for introducing similar arrangements in Wales - the Welsh Joint Education Committee could provide a suitable basis for the new examining body or bodies.
The 1960 Beloe Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 7 May 2012.