§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will conduct an urgent inquiry into the activities of companies who provide A level essays and coursework for UK students; 
(2) what plans he has to make sure that A level students who use material supplied by commercial companies are penalised through the loss of any grade achieved in the subject for which coursework has been supplied and submitted as their own work; 
(3) what plans he has to regulate companies who supply A level coursework to UK students. 
§ Mr. Miliband
[holding answer 1 April 2004]: The marking and grading of examination scripts is the responsibility of the examination awarding bodies. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as Regulator, is responsible for ensuring that the awarding bodies fulfil their obligations under the examinations Code of Practice. There are well-established procedures for dealing with instances of suspected malpractice in examinations, which are published by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and agreed by the awarding bodies.
The Guidance includes procedures for investigating alleged malpractice, including the misuse of ICT, and the sanctions and penalties to be applied to those candidates who are caught cheating. Sanctions can include the issue of a warning; the loss of all marks gained in all components in a qualification or ultimately barring the candidate from entering one or more examinations for a set period of time.