Group Chief Executive, Cambridge Assessment
Earlier this year I completed five years at Cambridge Assessment. This meant I qualified for the extra day’s leave we give all our long servers! More importantly, it made me reflect on how much the organisation has changed over the last few years.
Cambridge English has hit some big numbers this year. Our English qualifications have seen two million annual entries for the first time, and OET, our English language test for healthcare professionals, achieved an incredible 200 per cent growth. Meanwhile, IELTS, the world’s most popular English test for higher education and global migration, is now available three times a day, seven days a week thanks to a new digital platform.
We’ve seen continued growth at Cambridge International too; the number of schools teaching its programmes is now at a record high, a particular success story this year being the USA. Cambridge Pathway programmes are now used in elementary, middle and high schools in 32 states.
In the UK, OCR marked a milestone in the government’s ambitious qualification reform programme – this year was the first in which all its reformed GCSEs were taken by students. Vocational alternatives to traditional academic routes have always been a proud part of OCR’s offer and this year saw big growth in Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals qualifications, up by 62 and 17 per cent respectively.
One of the biggest changes this year saw the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) join the Cambridge family. CEM is one of the largest and longest established research groups providing assessments for children of all ages and is used by education professionals in over 70 countries around the world. We jointly own CEM with Cambridge University Press and, together, we believe we can reach significantly more learners around the world with CEM’s assessments.
We have strengthened our bond with the Press in other ways this year, too. Our joint initiative Cambridge Exams Publishing marked seven years of successful operation. And in May, we put pen to paper on a really inspiring cross-University collaboration with the charity Unicef and Microsoft that seeks to find new ways to support refugee and displaced learners.
Over the course of the year, I’ve had a chance to meet the growing number of students, teachers and stakeholders we have around the world. From India to Australia, from Singapore to Chile, you have given me new insights into what Cambridge Assessment can do for education in the future. We also had a wonderfully global moment when we welcomed a group of our learners to officially open our new Cambridge base, Triangle. From countries including Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain and the UK, it was great to hear our learners talk about their ambitions for the future and the positive impact that we make on their lives.
We’ve not just seen change in how Cambridge Assessment faces the world, we’ve seen change within the organisation too. There are many new people around the board table, with three new chief executives of our business units in Jill Duffy, Christine Özden and Francesca Woodward. We’ve also been joined by David Bulman as Chief Information Officer and Janet Scotcher has taken on the role of Director of HR and Transformation permanently.
Together with Jackie Rippeth and Tim Oates, we end 2019 with a great team in place. In the future, I look forward to them and folk across the organisation clocking up work anniversaries, as I have this year. Our people are Cambridge Assessment’s greatest asset, and it’s through their efforts that we’re having an increasing impact on education around the world.
Return to top