Education minister Ruth Kelly ordered a review of all GCSE coursework yesterday following warnings of a growing trend of plagiarising essays from the Internet.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) exams watchdog said in a report the trend could not be controlled and that many teachers gave their classes too much help, resulting in "coursework cloning".
Kelly demanded a review into every GCSE subject.
"I look to the QCA to ensure that where malpractice is discovered the appropriate sanctions are rigorously enforced," Kelly said in a letter to the QCA.
"It is fundamental to your role as regulator to sustain public confidence in our national qualifications, including those containing coursework."
Chief executive of the QCA, Ken Boston said coursework had clear education benefits but also carried some risk.
"The Internet has increased the potential for plagiarism," the QCA report said.
"Coursework assignments are available on the Internet at any level and in any subject. Some of it is freely accessible while much can be custom-made and is available for sale.
"With so much work being completed outside school the use of such sites cannot be controlled.
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