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Exams boss aims to regain trust

The public thinks England's qualifications watchdog has too cosy a relationship with the exam boards, Ken Boston, its chief executive has admitted.

In unpublished comments, on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority's internal website, Dr Boston outlined plans for the authority, having finalised a major overhaul in which 16 senior managers have been replaced.

He writes: "As regulator, we are champions and protectors of the demand side (ie schools and colleges) rather than just partners of the supply side (ie awarding bodies)."

Five of the authority's former nine-person executive, plus 11 of its old team of 28 senior managers, have been made redundant, are leaving or have been offered more junior jobs.

"The way we behave around here has altered," says Dr Boston. "We will be, and appear to be, a significantly revitalised organisation...we will be energetic, inventive, creative and responsive, and will be recognised as being so."

One priority will be public relations. The principal casualty of the reorganisation after last year's A-level regrading controversy has been the communications team, where six of the seven managers have gone.

In the spring, the QCA brought in a PR firm to launch a pound;250,000 campaign intended to restore public faith in A-levels and the exam system.

It has advertised for a media manager, two media co-ordinators and a manager of internal communications.

Separately, Dr Boston writes that on-screen exams "clearly represent the future", but said that he could not predict how quickly this would happen.

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