Sloppy management of public exams must be addressed say private school heads

Fiona Millar's picture
Here is an interesting report from the HMC - an organisation made up of the heads of the leading fee paying schools. They seem as unhappy as anyone else at the way the exam system is being managed. They  make the important point that inventing new qualifications may not address underlying problems with poor quality marking, inconsistent grades and failure to get redress for students who are let down.In particular HMC cite a culture of secrecy in the examination boards and a lack of focus at Ofqual, an organisation accountable to the government.

“Unless examining is reformed substantially, the introduction of revised qualifications will amount to new houses built on existing sand,” says the report.

The government is hurtling into new reforms of GCSEs apparently to address failings in the current system . Even the Tory chair of the Education Select Committee Graham Stuart says this is being rushed and lacks coherence. Maybe a more important priority is to deal with the inadequate management of public exams that will be taken by young people in the  intervening period.

The Secretary of State is facing a unique alliance of heads from all sectors on this issue. It is hard to know how pupils, parents and teachers can continue to have confidence in the exam system.  Maybe now these questions are being put by private schools , the Secretary of State will listen?
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Be notified by email of each new post.


Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 05/10/2012 - 14:51

This is what Christopher Ray, High Master of Manchester Grammar School and Chairman of HMC, said in the press release:

“The state of the examinations industry is truly shocking and is clearly no longer fit for purpose. The problems go far deeper than this year’s disastrous mishandling of the English language GCSE grades. We [the HMC] are publishing this evidence today on behalf of all students in state and independent schools in England who do not receive the marks or grades that accurately reflect their performance and achievement. As Brian Lightman, General Secretary of ASCL says, the findings are important and are ‘likely to have uncovered the tip of an iceberg’"

The private and state sectors are united on this, together with unions, academy chains and individual voices like Lord Baker and Jon Coles (previously director general for education standards in the Department for Education, now Group Chief Executive of ULT/UCST, academy chain and provider of independent schools).

It's time for major exams at 16+ to go for the sake of our over-examined young people.

Add new comment

Already a member? Click here to log in before you comment. Or register with us.