Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 16:51 UK

Profile: QCA chief Ken Boston

Ken boston
Ken Boston has worked on modernising exams

Australian Ken Boston, 65, has resigned as chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority - a job he took on in September 2002.

He arrived during the A-level grading crisis, when hundreds of scripts had to be reviewed following the introduction of two-part qualifications.

He proceeded to say that if the 2003 summer examinations were delivered smoothly, it would be "by good management rather than by luck, and by a hair's breadth".

"Conducting public examinations in the way we do is a high-risk activity in a very complex and fraught environment," he told a public policy seminar in London.

He was from the outset highly critical of England's "fragile" and "creaking" assessment system, likening the vast annual marking process to "a cottage industry" staffed by "moonlighters".

He has encouraged the move to on-screen marking - and has advocated trusting teachers to do far more assessment themselves.

He has also overseen a move to streamline the national curriculum in England to give teachers more space in which to innovate.

And he has presided over employers becoming qualifications awarding bodies in their own right - resulting in the "McDonald's A-level" among other things.

Salary and benefits

In 2006 it was announced that his contract as chief executive was being extended until September 2009.

The QCA's accounts show he was paid between 175,000 and 180,000 in 2006-07, with benefits in kind of 153,900 for his home and air fares to Australia, and a pension valued at 203,000.

Prior to his move to the UK he had been managing director of technical and further education and director-general of education and training in New South Wales, Australia.

His previous positions had included director-general of education in South Australia, and general manager of educational planning and policy in Victoria.

In 2001 Dr Boston - his PhD is from Melbourne University - was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for services to education and training.

He is a fellow and former president of the Australian College of Education, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

He married in 1978 and has one daughter. He lists his recreational interest as cricket and is a member of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

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