"Confidence in Standards" - Cambridge Assessment's response to the Government's white paper

23 June 2008

Cambridge Assessment has responded to the government's consultation 'Confidence in Standards' which seeks to create an independent regulator separated out from both the Department of Children, Families and Schools and the current regulator, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).

Secretary of State Ed Balls announced the break-up of the QCA at the Labour Party conference last October, also suggesting there was a job for a 'development agency' which could perform the other tasks of the QCA. A consultation has been held as to how the break-up might work and on what the powers of the regulator should be.

Cambridge Assessment calls for a strong, focused, regulator that sets broad objectives and leaves it to awarding bodies to meet them. It looks to an end to the micro-management of qualification detail and highlight the many reasons why a 'development agency' should not exist.

One of the key points in the consultation relates to whether the regulator or the 'development agency' should create the design criteria for a qualification. Cambridge Assessment proposes that, if that level of detail is to be desired (which is questionable), then it is the regulator that must be in charge of the process.

On governance, the Group calls for the appointment of the Chief Regulator by the Secretary of State to be subject to confirmation hearings in front of a Select Committee of the House of Commons, as is done in the United States of America for important positions.

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