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Farming GCSE put out to pasture

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save the farming GCSE have lost their battle, despite Royal support.

Plans to scrap the agriculture and horticulture GCSE, proposed this year by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, provoked a storm of protest from teachers.

Prince Charles even telephoned and wrote to Nick Tate, the then chief executive of the exam regulator, urging him to think again.

But final details of GCSE changes released by the QCA confirm the title will be axed from September 2002. The revise GCSE in rural science will be available for teaching from next year and could be renamed rural and agricultural science.

Nautical studies GCSE will continue until 2003. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had urged its retention for at least another year, claiming it was important to the shipping industry.

Both subjects are likely to be covered by the vocational GCSEs from 2002. David Blunkett's plan to create separate English language and literature GCSEs has also been postponed until 2003.

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