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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 17:26 GMT
6m for extra A-level markers
Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke wants to relieve pressure on markers
The Education Secretary Charles Clarke has promised 6m to recruit more A-level markers, in a package of measures to restore confidence in the exam system.

Responding to Mike Tomlinson's report into the turmoil following this summer's A-level results, Mr Clarke says he will act to ensure that the 2003 exam results will be secure.

The extra funding is an attempt to tackle a shortage of markers, with Mr Tomlinson saying that 50,000 markers will be needed for next summer's exams.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Clarke also announced that he would relieve pressure on markers this summer by bringing forward one of the biggest exams.

Next summer's GCSE English will be taken before the May bank holiday, as a one-off measure, said Mr Clarke.

And he promised that the burden of exam administration on schools would be reduced.

There was also an announcement that Mr Tomlinson would continue to act as an independent observer of the exam system next summer.

Mr Clarke accepted another recommendation from the report, that there should be an independent monitoring committee, which would verify A-level standards each year.

Professionalism

There would also be action in support of greater "professionalism" for markers and exam officers, said Mr Clarke.

But there were no promises of immediate action over two of the report's most radical recommendations.

On Mr Tomlinson's call for the splitting up of the AS-level and A2 exams, Mr Clarke said that this would be considered as part of a future reassessment of the 14 to 19 system.

And on proposals that students should have their A-level results before applying to university, Mr Clarke said that he would explore the possibilities.

But the Conservative education spokesperson, Damian Green, said that the government's response still "fails to give pupils the exam system they deserve".

Although welcoming the setting up of an independent monitoring panel, Mr Green said that there needed to be a much clearer separation between the government and exam watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

The alleged A-level grades manipulation

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