Good value GCSEs cost less than a ‘good meal for two’, says Ofqual

The TES is reporting that England’s chief exam regulator has claimed that GCSE exam fees represent good value for schools because they cost less per pupil than the price of “a good meal for two”…

The comments from Glenys Stacey, head of Ofqual, risk provoking the ire of headteachers who say that many schools spend more on exams than they do on learning resources and have called on the watchdog to do more to reduce them.

But Ms Stacey is clear that the funds that go on exams are worth it. “A GCSE currently costs less than £30, with marking included, and I often say that I can’t get a good meal for two on that, possibly a good meal for one,” Ms Stacey told a Westminster Education Forum conference in London last week. “I actually think it is remarkably good value for money.”

She added that the quality of teaching was a more important issue. “If we are talking about value, I think that is a much bigger subject and a very worthwhile one than whether a GCSE costs £20 or £30 or £40.”

Speaking earlier at the same event, Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Money is tight in many schools and the current examination bill for a 1,200 pupil 11-18 secondary school would probably be in excess of £100,000.

“In a survey we carried out a couple of years ago, many schools were actually spending more on examination fees than they were on the basic learning resources.”

“It would certainly go down well with schools if Ofqual could keep examination fees down,” he added. “Other regulators do have and use that power. We believe there should be more scrutiny into the cost of examinations.”

But Mr Trobe also acknowledged the “huge development costs” that exam boards now faced in producing the next generation of GCSEs and A-levels…

More at: Good value GCSEs cost less than a ‘good meal for two’, says Ofqual

Would you struggle to get a good meal for £30? Helpful analogy from Glenys Stacey? More broadly, do you think exam boards offer good value for money? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Glenys Stacey never fails to amaze me as to her ignorance of what actually goes on in schools

  2. Janet2

    A better solution would be to phase out exams at 16+ and move towards graduation at 18 as is common in most developed countries.

    And Stacey actually said she might “possibly” get a good meal for ONE for the price of one GCSE (£30).

    I’m obviously not eating out at the same places as her.  Or perhaps her idea of a “good meal” is more sophisticated than mine.

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