Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ofqual Avoids the Axe by Claiming Risk to Exam Reform

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Ofqual Avoids the Axe by Claiming Risk to Exam Reform

Article excerpt

exams watchdog Ofqual avoided major budget cuts earlier this year after threatening to delay the introduction of new GCSEs and A-levels, and to call off a flagship policy to ensure grades are awarded fairly, it has emerged.

Ofqual board papers published this month reveal that, in the spring, the Department for Education asked the watchdog to find ways to cut between 15 and 50 per cent of its 2015-16 budget for exam reforms. The request came after its annual budget had been set.

Ofqual warned that it could make the cuts only by postponing the introduction of the new exams, by cancelling the national reference test or by aborting a major IT programme. According to the papers, the watchdog told DfE officials: "We are not able to achieve this level of saving through a salami-slicing approach."

The DfE dropped its request for savings after Ofqual said the cuts risked delays to exam reforms. …

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