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Board advertises for cut-price markers

One of Britain's biggest exam boards is bidding to recruit young graduates to mark this year's GCSE and A-level papers at cut-price rates, The TES can reveal.

Edexcel is advertising for recent graduates in 68 subjects who do not need teaching experience.

An email sent to students at one university says the rate will be "up to"

pound;9 an hour. Experienced examiners said teachers could earn pound;20 an hour for examining.

Recruits are being expected to work from home and provide their own computer and broadband connection as they mark papers using Edexcel's controversial on-screen marking system.

The move comes less than a year after Edexcel faced widespread criticism over its use of office staff to mark GCSE papers. Since 2003, it has been Britain's only privatised board.

One senior examiner described the pound;9 hourly rate as "farcical".

John Bangs, National Union of Teachers head of education, said: "I'm very concerned by this. Exam boards face difficulties finding examiners. But the last thing they should be doing is trying to get them on the cheap."

An Edexcel spokeswoman said the examiners were not being exploited.

Typically, they would earn pound;700-pound;1,100 for their work.

Experience proved that they could mark as effectively as teacher markers, she said.

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