Teachers are telling their pupils exactly what to write in GCSE coursework in their desperation to improve results, examiners confirmed this week.
Secondaries are providing youngsters with detailed guidance, specifying what points should be made in each paragraph and which quotations to use, Britain's second-largest exam board said.
In its annual report on English GCSE, Edexcel highlighted as "insidiously worrying" the issue of "teaching by numbers", where the submissions of many pupils from a school were very similar.
"In such cases, teacher guidance to candidates stretches what is acceptable to the limit, by providing over-detailed essay plans."
The report warned that pupils would find it difficult to get higher grades, because it was clear their work was not original, and there was a high risk it would be penalised. At least 100 teachers were investigated by the boards for malpractice last year.