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Test cost now stands at over pound;24m

THE cost of national tests for seven, 11 and 14-year-olds topped pound;24 million last year, according to the Government's exam body.

As the former chief of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority admitted that pupils now face too many tests and exams, the authority's annual report showed that nearly half of its pound;57m in government funding is spent on testing.

Former chief executive Nick Tate's salary was pound;98,649, with a pound;8,364 bonus - an increase of more than pound;2,000 on the year before.

Dr Tate, now head of Winchester College, oversaw the Government's post-16 reforms. He admitted last week that the exam body had failed to consider all the options for and implications of the new AS-level exams.

The authority's annual report also shows that claims on the rest of the government funding included the cost of overhauling the national curriculum, which led to 30 GCSEs being axed, had been pound;3.4million. The review was one of the most costly projects undertaken by the authority last year.

Introducing ealy-learning goals and the "foundation" stage for three to five-year-olds cost just under pound;1m.

The expenses bill for the organisation, which has about 466 employees, was nearly pound;700,000. More than pound;5m went on external consultants.

Sir William Stubbs, rector of the London Institute - a grouping of art and design colleges - chairs the authority's board and works two days a week. The institute was paid pound;50,007 remuneration for his services. Expenses for ten board members over the period totalled pound;6,735.

Sir William said the organisation had achieved important milestones during the year, including the national curriculum review, the development of world-class tests, schemes of work for teachers, national standards for adult literacy and numeracy and a more coherent qualifications framework.

Dr Tate was succeeded last September by David Hargreaves, who was professor of education at Cambridge University and a former chief inspector of the Inner London Education Authority.

Julie Henry

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