QCA will hold pitch to restore faith in exams

The Government's exams watchdog is to draft in PR agency help to revive confidence in A-Levels.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority - the body at the centre of last summer's A-Level results debacle - has seen pitches from six agencies and an appointment is expected within weeks.

The agency will assist the QCA's in-house team with a PR blitz to boost the faith of students, parents and teachers in the exam process, according to QCA head of comms Tim Whitaker.

Former chief schools inspector Mike Tomlinson's inquiry - set up to investigate last year's blunders, in which almost 2,000 students received at least one revised grade - identified communications surrounding A-Levels as an area that should be improved.

The QCA is planning a regional media campaign which is set to launch in April.

The campaign - which will target broadcast media - is likely to feature 'exam doctors' answering concerns on radio shows, according to Whitaker.

This week the QCA commissioned pollster MORI to research opinions on the exams system from groups such as students.

Described by Whitaker as 'the first significant research since events of last autumn', the research - which will form part of the media relations campaign - is likely to be completed by mid-March.

The QCA is currently recruiting around 16 A-Level students for a new 'Student Roundtable', which will meet three times each year to raise their concerns with QCA chief executive Ken Boston.

The QCA is co-ordinating its PR programme in conjunction with the Department for Education and Skills and the three awarding bodies: Edexcel, AQA and OCR.

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