We must act tough over exam tip-offs, says Gove


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The Independent Online

Tougher action against examiners who passed on tips to teachers about next summer's GCSE and A-level exams has been called for by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.

An inquiry by Ofqual, the exams regulator, found examiners had broken the rules by tipping off teachers about the content of papers.

As a result, one GCSE paper – an ICT paper set by the Welsh Joint Education Committee, due to be sat by 450 pupils in January – is being withdrawn and rewritten, meaning it will be delayed until March. The inquiry followed an undercover operation by the Daily Telegraph which stated that teachers "were routinely given information about future questions, areas of the syllabus that would be assessed and specific words or facts students should use in their answers to win marks".

However, the regulator concludes: "Although there are instances where the evidence reviewed to date backs up some of the allegations, most of the material does not show such unacceptable practice."

Mr Gove said: "Nonetheless, I am clear, and public reaction proves, that they've overstepped the mark on what is felt to be an acceptable level of advanced information."

He could not rule out the need for "large-scale reform" after the allegations. Ofqual will issue a follow-up report in January to reveal whether any further examinations will be withdrawn or rewritten.