The head of the Government's exams watchdog dramatically quit his £180,000-a-year job last night – days before an official inquiry is due to deliver a damning report on how his organisation handled this summer's national curriculum tests fiasco.
Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said he was taking full responsibility for delays to results of SATs tests taken by 1.2 million 11- and 14-year-olds in England and Wales this summer.
Dr Boston apologised to pupils, teachers and parents for the failure to deliver the test results on time to up to 100,000 pupils. Some children have never received their marks.
The QCA chief is understood to have been given little alternative but to resign, with a source close to the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, saying the row was "not their finest hour".
An inquiry by the former chief inspector of schools Lord Sutherland is expected to blame the National Assessment Agency, the body within the QCA, and ETS Europe, the US-based firm given the contract to oversee the tests, for the administrative chaos.