Week in the life of a furore

Friday September 13

* The TES front-page story reveals unprecedented numbers of A-level papers have been downgraded this year because initial results were too high. Schools complained of a results "fix". The claims focused on Cambridge board OCR.

* The Government's exam watchdog launches an inquiry.


* The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, which represents private schools, says that a fifth of its 246 schools have been affected by "bizarre" results.

* OCR's chief executive Ron McLone agrees to meet HMC leaders on Thursday.

* The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority continues its investigation but claims the awarding process is sound.


* HMC says it will support legal action against OCR unless the A-level results are explained.

* The Prime Minister's official spokesman says it is "utter rubbish" to suggest that the Government asked the exam board to downgrade pupils.


* Headteacher associations call for an independent inquiry into "fixing" allegations, claiming the QCA is too involved with the exam boards.

* QCA asks OCR for coursework and exam results in English, physics, chemistry, history, geography, design and technology, French, German and psychology.

* The QCA's new chief executive Ken Boston appears on BBC2's Newsnight. He denies suggestions that the quango instructed boards to depress grades.

* Mr McLone is also interviewed on the programme. He insists that OCR has followed the rules and says teachers have failed to appreciate the harder demands of the A2 assessment.


* Sir William Stubbs, QCA chairman, and Ken Boston called to the Department for Education and Skills.

* A stream of state and independent schools come forward with grade concerns. Some relate to AS exams and also to boards AQA and Edexcel.

* Sir William denies the exam boards were under political pressure to downgrade marks.

* Headteachers' demand ministerial intervention.


* OCR confirms TES revelation of 11th-hour grade shifts but denies any wrong doing.

* More examples emerge of students who have lost university places because of U grades.

* Demands are made for a ministerial appointed inquiry into the whole exam system.

* The Government annnounces that thousands of entries are to be re-marked.


* HMC, the Girls' Schools Association and the Secondary Heads Association set to demand the restoration of original boundaries and the re-issue of results.


* QCA due to report its findings to Education Secretary Estelle Morris.

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