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Exam board's study service

A leading exam board is offering teachers monthly tips on how to prepare their pupils for GCSEs.

In what is believed to be the first instance of a board supporting day-to-day teaching for an exam, Edexcel is marketing a new series of regular bulletins for business studies teachers.

The board said the service already had more than 300 teachers signed up, and that the advice from examiners and supporting materials would enhance and enliven lessons. However, Ted Wragg, TES columnist and emeritus professor of education at Exeter university, described the move as "appalling".

For pound;42 a year, secondary schools are offered the chance to subscribe to monthly email updates written by Ian Marcouse, a former chief examiner for business studies A-level at the AQA board, and now chair of strategy for Edexcel business education.

Edexcel promises on its website that the email will provide high-quality, topical materials.

Among the features listed are GCSE classroom activities, a scheme of work with references to materials needed to support teaching, and reviews of new textbooks. The service also offers monthly updates from senior examiners and moderators.

Edexcel became the first major board to be run for profit two years ago when it was taken over by the Pearson publishing group.

Professor Wragg said: "I'm absolutely appalled, Once you start getting the examination system driving the curriculum you strangle it. The curriculum, not the assessment system, should come first."

However, Edexcel argued that the new service allowed teachers to include topical case studies and other ideas for teaching. A spokesman said: "The idea that this is narrowing the curriculum is a total non-starter."

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