Ex-education secretary to chair OCR curriculum and exams review

Exam board boss said they can 'create something better across education and assessment' in secondary schools

Exam board boss said they can 'create something better across education and assessment' in secondary schools

New schools' safeguarding guidance includes additional advice on filtering and monitoring harmful online content

A former education secretary is to chair a review into secondary education for exam board OCR.

OCR, which is part of Cambridge University Press and Assessment, said it will consult hundreds of schools, colleges, teachers, students and experts to develop a series of “bold and pragmatic” policy recommendations on 11 to 16 education.

It will be led by Charles Clarke, who was Labour’s education secretary between 2002 and 2004.

The review, starting this week, will focus on four key areas, including improving English and maths provision and reducing the “assessment burden” at GCSE.

It will also look at “curriculum evolution” and digital assessment and learning.

The aim is to provide “concise and deliverable” policy proposals, published in the summer.

Charles clarke

It’s one in a series of inquiries since the pandemic on the future of GCSEs and exams.

Exam board Pearson proposed overhauling school performance measures and “alternative” qualifications in the English and maths resit policy as part of its major inquiry in 2022.

Meanwhile, another by the Independent Assessment Commission, funded by the National Education Union, said students should be tested “when ready” rather than made to sit “cliff-edge” exams.

The Conservatives want to introduce an Advanced British Standard to “break down the divide” between academic and technical study, its consultation said last year.

If Labour win the next general election, they have pledged a curriculum review to look at “the right balance of assessment methods while maintaining the important role of examinations”.

Jill Duffy, OCR chief executive, said: “We can create something better across education and assessment at 11 to 16.

“In a world shaped by technological, economic and environmental disruption, the next government has a tremendous opportunity to refocus and rethink key parts of our education system. 

“We will work throughout the education system and across the political spectrum to tap into the best ideas and experiences to offer bold and pragmatic policy ideas.” 

Clarke said he was “pleased” to be working with OCR to “develop ideas around how we can revitalise curriculum and assessment”.

More from this theme


Deprived schools more likely to see progress 8 scores fall

Analysis comes as Covid impact and potential Labour changes may spell end to measure in its current form

Freddie Whittaker

Progress 8 pause: Heads call for wider review

But some heads have warned the sector could creep back to GCSE pass grades being the accountability 'king'

Samantha Booth

No school progress measure for next two years

The Department for Education had explored alternative options, but concluded there is 'no replacement' for progress 8 measure

Samantha Booth

Unions: ‘Clunky’ advanced British standard risks ‘blunt choice’ for pupils

Ministers accused of 'putting the cart before the horse' with 16-19 reform plans

Freddie Whittaker

DfE puts 40 staff on Advanced British Standard ‘vanity project’

Government criticised for committing 'platoon of civil servants' to policy unlikely to come to fruition

Freddie Whittaker

Cyber attack: Exam boards told to introduce new security measures

Ofqual chief Sir Ian Bauckham said regulator will undertake 'rigorous' checks on exam board plans to move tests on-screen

Samantha Booth

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *