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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Essays company denies wrongdoing
Barclay Littlewood
Barclay Littlewood said the essays should be used as a resource
A Nottinghamshire company which sells academic essays to students has denied it is doing anything wrong.

Degree Essays UK, based in Ravenshead, sells the papers to school and university students at 300 each.

A Commons education select committee is to investigate companies offering tailored essays this autumn.

But owner of Degree Essays UK Barclay Littlewood said his company was providing perfectly legitimate support and not helping students cheat.

'Research aid'

Chairman of the select committee and Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman said one of the concerns was whether or not essay companies affect the overall quality of what comes out of the university process.

Degree Essays UK employs more than 3,000 writers who produce original essays on a variety of subjects and essays can cost from 120 to as much as 4,000.

"We're there to provide a copyrighted piece of research to a student and we guarantee 2:1 and first class standard," said company director Barclay Littlewood.

"But we do say to students it's there as a start-off point, it's there as a research aid.

"It does answer their exact question but they then have to go and do their research outside our piece, formulate their own opinions, look at their own reference and write the creative and original piece which is distant from ours."

He said at the moment his company would turn away students staff thought would just pass on the bought essays as their own work but called for outside regulation which would help ensure this did not happen.

The umbrella group Universities UK is to hold a conference in October to address the issue of plagiarism and cheating in higher education.

Degree Essays is a trading name of Academic Answers Ltd.

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