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QCA CHIEF FACES AXE OVER A-LEVELS

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Sir William Stubbs, head of the government's examinations watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, wi...
Sir William Stubbs, head of the government's examinations watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, will this week be pressured by ministers to resign as they scramble to distance themselves from the scandal which has left thousands of students with the wrong A-level grades, reported The Observer (pp 1-2, feature pp 8-9).

A senior Whitehall souce is reported as saying: 'Stubbs is dead in the water'.

School standards minister David Miliband, one of the prime minister's closest allies, was drawn into the affair as questions mounted over the role he played. The department for education and skills denied any ministerial intereference but confirmed there were meetings over the summer between Sir William and Mr Miliband to discuss A-levels, including one in early August, immediately after the 'fixing' of grades was carried out.

The Secondary Heads Association is this week poised to present damning evidence to the independent inquiry now investigating the affair. It shows that the QCA worked hand-in-hand with exam boards it should have been regulating to mark down students in this summer's A-levels. SHA general secretary John Dunford met education secretary Estelle Morris on Thursday and she is thought to be convinced by his evidence that the QCA was complicit in the fixing process.

There is also anger that the QCA ignored the DfES's order to fully investigate the scandal when The Observer revealed it on 1 September. Mr Miliband took over responsibility for the QCA in June and the department confirmed over the weekend he had had several face-to-face meetings with Sir William to discuss A-levels.

But a DfES spokesman insisted that no member of Ms Morris's team had put pressure on Sir William or the exam boards to influence grades. Any major changes to the grading system should have been reported to the department, he added.

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