Eton teachers help set seven exams taken by its pupils, says headmaster

The Guardian reports that Simon Henderson told parliament’s education select committee that eight of his staff set 10 exams in total, of which seven were for papers being sat by the school’s pupils. But he said he wanted to avoid a repeat of the scandal that led to a teacher’s departure from the school earlier this year, after it was first revealed in the Guardian that pupils had had access to material that later appeared in their final exams.

And amid ongoing concern that exams are vulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous examiners, England’s exam watchdog also told the committee that it was considering plans to crack down on classroom teachers who set public exams in the subjects they teach.

The hearing is Henderson’s most substantial public discussion of the matter that took place during the summer, when pupils at Eton and Winchester had marks annulled in economics and art history papers for the Pre-U – an exam favoured by some schools as an alternative to A-levels – while the teachers responsible for leaking the material left their schools.

Asked by Robert Halfron, the Conservative MP who chairs the education committee, if last summer’s affair was a one-off, Henderson said: “We have no evidence that this was going on previously.”

Henderson told the committee that in the case of the economics Pre-U exam, it was other staff members at Eton who had blown the whistle. “In this particular case it was our own teachers in the economics department who had concerns about the activity, the behaviour, of their head of department”

Michelle Meadows, an executive director of Ofqual, described to MPs the measures the exam regulator was considering to mitigate the dangers of classroom teachers acting as examiners.

“One possibility, of course, is that teachers continue but they are not allowed to teach the specification for which they are writing [exams]. We haven’t ruled that out but there are some really thorny issues associated with that which would need working through,” Meadows said.

Read the full article Eton teachers help set seven exams taken by its pupils, says headmaster

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