Back to basics for education regulation


23 November 2010

This is the full text of a letter sent to the Daily Telegraph, which appeared in an edited form in the paper today:

Your front page article ("Pupils will lose marks for poor grammar and spelling") previewing the forthcoming White Paper on education highlighted many reforms that will benefit the country, teachers and pupils.

However, one key point was missing: the need for effective regulation. Throughout the last few years there has been an extraordinary lack of compliance with the regulatory framework, with almost no sanction against those responsible.

Government-funded reports, ignored or contradicted in public by ministers in the last administration, show Awarding Bodies (examination boards) not adhering to their own agreed specifications (syllabuses) in science subjects.

The regulator Ofqual has recently rejected the revised future specifications proposed by all Awarding Bodies because they are not consistent with agreed criteria (curriculum). Earlier examinations were deemed to be 'too easy'.

Consequently, this is not just an issue of declining standards, but of failure within major parts of the educational system  to follow even the most fundamental of already formalised guidelines.

My use of parenthesis above signifies yet one other necessary reform for the future: the need for a vocabulary that casts aside the veil that shrouds much that goes on in education. 

Richard Pike
Chief Executive
Royal Society of Chemistry

The edited version of this letter that appeared in Tuesday 23 November's Daily Telegraph can be seen by visiting the link at the end of this article.

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Link icon It is not just spelling where there is a problem with examinations
The Daily Telegraph published on 23 November a letter sent by Dr Richard Pike


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