The cheating scandal in private schools has prompted the exams regulator to launch an inquiry, the schools minister has said.
Nick Gibb said the action was required following the ‘unacceptable’ incidents at Eton and Winchester to uphold the ‘integrity of the exam system’.
Ofqual announced yesterday it would review the rules allowing serving teachers to take part in writing and reviewing question papers.
Top teachers are often invited to help write exam papers as they are considered ‘subject specialists’.
The cheating scandal in private schools has prompted the exams regulator to launch an inquiry, the schools minister has said (file photo of Eton)
However, last week it emerged that a deputy head at Eton College had left amid claims he leaked questions from a Pre-U economics exam. Pre-Us are an alternative to A-levels.
Mo Tanweer was investigated by the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) exam board following a tip-off regarding allegations that questions were shared with other teachers ahead of an exam.
The CIE has also been investigating concerns over irregularities surrounding Pre-U art history at both Eton and Winchester College.
Mr Gibb said yesterday: ‘The public must have confidence in the integrity of the exam system and cheating of any kind is unacceptable.
‘Exam regulator Ofqual is now reviewing the rules under which teachers take part in writing and reviewing question papers and have confirmed to me that they are considering whether action is needed.
‘The overwhelming majority of teachers act appropriately when working with exam materials but where they do not, schools have a responsibility to report it.’
Mo Tanweer (right), deputy head teacher at Eton College, quit after an exam board ruled he had breached security. Pictured left: Eton College Headmaster Simon Henderson
Nick Gibb said the action was required following the ‘unacceptable’ incidents at Eton and Winchester (file photo) to uphold the ‘integrity of the exam system’
In a statement regarding Pre-U economics, Eton confirmed that a CIE investigation concluded there had been ‘a breach of exam security by one of Eton’s teachers’.
The school added: ‘The teacher has left the school. While pupils had done nothing wrong, they were inadvertent recipients of confidential information and so the board awarded them assessed marks for that paper.
‘Eton College deeply regrets that this incident occurred.’
In the case of Pre-U art history, Eton said that following a CIE probe, pupils who took the exam had also been found to be ‘inadvertent recipients’ of confidential information for one paper, The Guardian reported.
This related to information that pupils had been sent via a pupil at another school before the exam, and no Eton staff member was involved.
Winchester College said it ‘greatly regrets what has happened,’ adding:
‘No boy was to blame for the irregularity, and the board used standard procedures to award final grades.
Yesterday it was revealed Radley College, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was investigated by exam board OCR over a GCSE art paper but no wrongdoing was found
‘One teacher has retired from the school, and all those boys holding university offers dependent on a grade in art history have now had those offers confirmed.’
Yesterday it was revealed Radley College, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, was investigated by exam board OCR over a GCSE art paper but no wrongdoing was found.
Ofqual said: ‘The involvement of serving teachers in the process of exam setting has many benefits and exam malpractice by teachers is rare.
However, access to live materials must be appropriately controlled.
‘We will investigate whether our safeguards are sufficiently robust.’