Pearson, owner of the exam board Edexcel, plans to pilot the introduction of micro-chips to its exam paper packaging this summer, in an attempt to combat fraud. In both 2017 and 2018 Edexcel saw questions from its Maths A-level paper leaked online. Derek Richardson, Pearson’s vice president, has said that in both years the leaks were due to ‘individuals deliberately setting out to subvert our controls’. The new microchips are intended to allow Pearson to track the date, time and location of packages ‘in the extremely unusual event’ that they should be opened early.

Mr Richardson announced the pilot in a letter to headteachers, in which he also urged them to ensure that question papers were stored securely, and reminded them that ‘question paper security should never be the responsibility of a single individual’. He also confirmed that police had been investigating both of the previous Maths A-level question leaks, and that they had now passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is respect of the 2017 incident. Richardson said he hoped police might also be in a position to send materials regarding the 2018 leak to the CPS ‘soon’. Edexcel is not the only exam board that has been affected by such leaks – in 2018 some questions from an AQA GCSE chemistry paper were shared by a pupil on social media.

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