Thursday, 31 October 2013

Exam Central - A Successful Year

The school year 2012/2013 has been a great success for Exam Central and we are seeing these successes continue in this first term of the school year 2013/2014. Over the last academic year we had a large number of students participate in one to one tuition sessions, group sessions and booster courses, all which have supported students preparing for the 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels. We have also undertaken a variety of school interventions in 5 different school delivering projects for students of all ages based around Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, languages and other subjects. The work we have been doing has helped over 500 students in the West Midlands region.

We did an annual report for the academic year 2012/2013 which included responses from students and parents. We found that 93.33% of parents found their child benefited from our support, 80% felt that their son or daughter was more confident with their academic studies as a result of the support they received from us and 100% said they would recommended Exam Central to friends and family. Out of the students who participated in our booster sessions, 95% of them gave an approval rating of excellence for the sessions.
Not only have our stats shown that the work we are doing is having a positive impact, but our students and parents have told us how much they are benefiting from their tuition. Below are some recent examples:

“Thank you for helping so much with my further maths this year I managed to go from a U in the mock to an A at GCSE!” (student)

“Just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your help with Tom. He has done us proud today and very unexpected results - 3 A*, 6 A’s and 1 B!! And one of the A’s was in Maths. Well done and thanks again for all your help!!” (Parent, results day)

We are really proud to have such a great record with our parents and students and we are pleased to see how our services are really supporting young people and allowing them to develop through their academic studies. Moreover, we are really glad to continue and expand our support throughout this current academic year with more students signed up to one to one session, more booster session planned for the exam periods, more school interventions and our new elite tennis & education program. We are really excited to continue this work and are always looking at ways we can enhance our services for our students.

Follow the latest news on Twitter @ExamCentral

Monday, 24 September 2012

EC hears first hand of impact on schools of the English GCSE controversy

Exam Central works with many schools across the West Midlands region. A partner school of Exam Central has recently felt the impact of the GCSE English controversy which has directly affected the their pupils English GCSE grades.
Having achieved record pass rates in GCSE Maths, it was of huge disappointment that English scores have been nearly 20% lower than expected.
Many schools have seen the GCSE English controversy directly affect their grades, secondary schools across the country are doing everything they can to persuade the government to act on this matter.   
Greater rigour in public examinations is to be welcomed, through a system that is fair and consistent which is essential. 

EC wins new contract for literacy and numeracy interventions in local secondary school

 Exam Central is pleased to announce that it has won a new contract-Stuart Bathurst School has employed us to deliver a numeracy and literacy intervention for year 8 students. 
The project will be funded by pupil premium money and is designed to support the disadvantaged students from the school.
The project will be tailored towards the individual needs of the year 8 pupils and will take place on Wednesday afternoons for two hours during school time.
As a result Exam Central is currently recruiting undergraduates to help delivery the project. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Exam Central launches new suite of educational services for autumn term

Exam Central has been busy planning a new range of educational services for autumn term, to help pupils prepare for their end of year exams and especially early GCSE’s and retakes.  This autumn exam central will be offering interventions in Schools for Maths, English, Science, and Modern Foreign Languages.
School Interventions are designed to help struggling students and give a boost to talented students to excel.
Exam Central trains talented graduates and undergraduates to be able to work with young people positively and have an impact on their attainment and aspirations.  University graduates take on a positive role model for students, and aim to raise their goals and ambitions.
Exam Central prides on providing bespoke interventions to each school, by taking on a flexible and adaptable approach to fit the needs of individual schools.
In addition to school interventions, Exam Central will also continue to offer one to one tuition lesson in Maths, English, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography and History for GCSEs and A Levels.
Exam Central is a registered charity (Registered Charity Number :1147646 )

For more information please visit

Russell Group universities still have available student places

A quarter of universities in the UK's Russell Group still have vacancies, as the new tuition fees regime comes in.
The group, which includes many top universities, says changes to the funding system in England have meant students who wanted to go to a good university and had the right grades have not been able to which means that six out of its 24 members have spaces.
Higher Education Minister David Willetts MP says it is likely fewer people will go to university this year.
There is more of a market this year in student places and some Russell Group universities have never previously offered places through Clearing - the system which matches students to vacancies.
Universities in England have been able to expand by taking as many students with top grades (AAB or higher) as they can accommodate or if they are charging fees of less than £7,500, but their "core" number of places have been cut and fewer students than expected got the top grades.
According to the UCAS Clearing website there are vacancies for courses beginning in the next two weeks at at least six out of the Russell Group's 24 universities, including Birmingham, Sheffield and Queen Mary's, University of London.
Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said: "If universities couldn't recruit enough high-calibre students they risked losing funding but if they recruited too many students with grades ABB or below they risked substantial fines.
"The difficult choices faced by admissions departments this year means students who wanted to attend a leading university and had the right qualifications have not been able to, even though those universities wanted to accept them."
The numbers getting AAB grades or equivalent were lower than expected he said - 80,000 rather than 85,000.
He said: "It looks as if there may have been fewer pupils achieving predicted AAB grades at A-level, but rather more getting top grades in equivalent high-class vocational qualifications, such as BTecs.

According to Ucas, there are more than 26,000 university courses with empty places, compared with 20,000 at this time last year.
News Source : BBC Education & The Independent Education News. 

Goodbye GCSE and Welcome to the new English Baccalaureate Certificate

Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced the replacement of GCSE exams with the new English Baccalaureate certificate.
In his speech the Education Secretary made it clear that the new qualification would be more rigorous than GCSEs and it would focus on academic subjects.  It will be the biggest shake up to the secondary school examination system since the introduction of GCSEs in 1986 and it will mean a single end-of-course exam and one exam board for core subjects.
Announcing the move in the Commons, Mr Gove said: “After years of drift, decline and dumbing down, at last we are reforming our examination system to compete with the world's best.”
He added: “The GCSE was conceived - and designed - for a different age and a different world.
“We know that employers and academics have become less confident in the worth of GCSE passes - they fear students lack the skills for the modern workplace and the knowledge for advanced study.
“It is time for the race to the bottom to end. It is time to tackle grade inflation and dumbing down. It is time to raise aspirations and restore rigour to our examinations.”
All the existing boards will be eligible to bid for “EBacc” - as the new qualification will be known - subjects with exams regulator Ofqual deciding which bid wins the franchise.
Pupils beginning secondary school this year will take the first new exams - in English, Maths and Sciences - in 2017.
News Source : The Independent Education & BBC Education News 

Friday, 14 September 2012

Changes in GCSE grade boundaries could mean that 140 schools could face closure

The changes to GCSE grade boundaries mean that at least 140 schools have missed the Government's minimum exam target. They are now facing the possibility of closure or conversion to academies.

The stark figures, which reveal the true cost of attempts to keep a lid on grade inflation, emerged as the Welsh Government ordered English GCSEs in Wales to be regraded, meaning that pupils in England could end up with a lower grade for the same work as pupils across the border.

The figures have been published by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which found that in total 143 schools in England which has previously been confidently predicted to meet the target for GCSE passes had now failed to do so. The figures do not include those schools that were already expected to fall short.

In addition, earlier this year it emerged that Ofqual, the exams regulator, had told the Edexcel exam board that it should raise the boundary for a C-grade pass, against the wishes of its examiners. The exam board eventually caved in and raised the boundary by 10 marks.

Glenys Stacey, chief executive of Ofqual, confirmed to MPs that she had been prepared to use her powers to force Edexcel to comply.

She also revealed that Ofqual had approached a second exam board, the Welsh WJEC, to ask it to raise its grade boundaries. She said she was worried that the board was reporting increases in the pass rate in 43 out of 46 different subject areas.

However, WJEC has now been ordered by Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews to re-grade pupils in Wales who were marked down for their English exams. The board, which had more candidates sitting its paper in England than in Wales but has been instructed only to re-grade the latter, said it had been placed in a "difficult and unexpected position".

In a written submission to MPs, Ofqual admitted that the whole affair had had a "serious impact on perceptions of fairness" in the exams system. This, it argued, stemmed from the "generous" results awarded to students who sat the exam in January.

Ofqual said there had been a greater variation in schools' results than expected, with the result that many achieved a far lower pass rate than they had predicted.

Amanda Spielman, who chairs Ofqual, told the committee: "While some schools are good at it [predicting results], it is clear that a lot aren't. We would have expected in the face of a new qualification schools to have been a bit more cautious about their predictions and brought them down a bit."

News Source: The Independent Education News