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News - 2 April 2014

Evolution exam questions cannot be blocked

Ofqual says blocking out questions on exam papers which contradict a school’s religious ethos will count as "malpractice".

It follows reports of a Jewish school redacting questions about evolution in a GCSE science exam. The OCR exam board, which set the science paper, says schools must not "tamper with question papers".

In response, a representative of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools said the association was seeking advice on this "very concerning matter".

A spokesman for OFQUAL said: "Having looked into the issue, we concluded that while the practice was very rare, it should not be allowed."

"Denying learners access to all the questions on a paper prevents the candidate achieving their full potential and therefore disadvantages them. It also threatens the validity of the qualification.

Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“The OCR exam board says two schools redacted exam questions last summer and has now issued a statement that schools are not permitted to make changes to exam papers before they are seen by students.”

Richy Thompson of the British Humanist Association welcomed that news that schools would not be permitted to "censor exam questions".

"Every child has a human right to scientific knowledge, and evolution is fundamental to understanding how life came to be," he said.

Jonathan Rabson, executive director of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools, said that the association was "very surprised that there has been no consultation, and we are considering our position as this statement has come without any notice".

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

Brilliant with numbers   
Great with people  
Clear and precise with advice
Timely and cost effective 
In touch with issues that face our clients
Mindful of our client’s long term strategic goals


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