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NEW BODY UNDERPINS CRUSADE TO RAISE STANDARDS

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Education and employment decretary David Blunkett today welcomed the start of a new drive to raise standards throug...
Education and employment decretary David Blunkett today welcomed the start of a new drive to raise standards through a new Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The new body, starting tomorrow, brings together the work of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ).

Mr Blunkett said:

'QCA is much more than a merger of NCVQ and SCAA. We are determined to push up standards of attainment and to offer education and training of the highest quality. For the first time a single body will have responsibilities which cover the entire lifelong learning path, in particular reviewing the National Curriculum and establishing the National Framework of Qualifictions.

'The key to QCA's success will be its ability to develop strong partnerships with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the world of education, training and industry.'

The QCA has a wider remit than any previous education or training body, including:

-- what children should learn pre-school

-- the national curriculum for 5-16 year olds

-- the national tests for 7,11 and 14 year olds

-- GCSEs, A-levels, GNVQs, NVQs and, for the first time, all qualifications delivered with public funds other than in higher education

The QCA will also take over the national occupational standards programme from DfEE in April 1998.

The QCA's overarching aims will be to promote coherence in education and training and to improve the nation's level of attainment in education and training. It will work closely with awarding bodies, national training organisations, education bodies, employers and other key players. It will consist of a board of 13 members including the chairman, William Stubbs, and the deputy chairman, Dominic Cadbury. The chief executive, Nick Tate, will be an ex-officio member of QCA.

NOTES

Ron Dearing's review of the 16-19 qualifications framework recommended that a single body should oversee both academic and

vocational qualifications, with responsibility for the curriculum and its assessment. Responses to a subsequent consultation paper indicated support from both education and industry for a merger of the work of SCAA and NCVQ.

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