Formation 1996[1]
Type Examination board
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Region served
Official language
Sir David Melville CBE
Parent organisation
Website Pearson Qualifications

Edexcel, formally known as Pearson Edexcel - London Examinations,[2] is a multinational education and examination body owned by Pearson. Edexcel, the only privately owned examination board in the UK[3] and part of Pearson PLC, is a portmanteau term combining the words Education & Excellence. It regulates school examinations under the British Curriculum and offers qualifications for schools on the international and regional scale. Edexcel is the UK’s largest awarding organisation offering academic and vocational qualifications in schools, colleges and work places in the UK and abroad. It is also recognised internationally.[4]


Edexcel was formed in 1996 by the merger of two bodies, the BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) and ULEAC (University of London Examinations and Assessment Council).[1] In 2003, the Edexcel Foundation (the charity which managed the board) formed a partnership with Pearson PLC to set up a new company called London Qualifications Ltd, which was 75% owned by Pearson and 25% by the Edexcel Foundation.[1] London Qualifications Limited changed its name to Edexcel Limited in November 2004, and is now known colloquially as Edexcel and formally as Edexcel Pearson - London Examinations.

In 2005, Edexcel became the only large examination board to be held in private hands, when Pearson PLC took complete control.[1] Edexcel subsequently received investment from their new parent company.

Edexcel also offers IAL, known as International Advanced Levels. It is offered only to schools outside the UK.[5] It is considered by the UK NARIC (the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom) to be of a comparable standard as the GCE Advanced Level.[6] In addition, Edexcel provides the Edexcel International Diploma (ID) which involves the study of 4 A-Levels (3 full A-Levels and 1 AS-Level in either General Studies or Global Development).[7][8] The British curriculum offered by the Edexcel International board is among the most taught at International Schools along with the curricula offered by Cambridge International Examinations and, the most dominant educational exam board in the international school sector, the International Baccalaureate Organization.[9]

Incorporated Examination Boards


As Edexcel is the only privately owned examination board in the UK, questions have been raised on whether the examination board is acting in the best interest of students, or solely as a profit making business, due to the wide range of officially endorsed text books published by Pearson, the international multi-billion company who owns the exam board Edexcel.[10]

Other controversies include:

2007: It was reported that teachers using Edexcel Music examinations were allowing students to listen to confidential listening paper CDs several days before the examination, by abusing the trust given by the exam board to only check for technical issues. Other exam boards do not allow the practice of checking discs, with AQA specifically instructing teachers not to open the packages containing the CDs before exams.[11]

2013: The loss of an A-level C3 Mathematics exam being delivered to an international school in Amsterdam led to a replacement paper being published for the Summer examination series; however, 60 students in the UK took the original paper due to it mistakenly being handed out in two UK and two overseas centres, while the replacement paper was taken by 34,000 students. The replacement paper was criticised for including questions that were not present on the syllabus, and that the students taking the original paper would be unfairly marked.[12]

2015: In June, students across the United Kingdom who had taken an Edexcel GCSE Maths paper expressed anger and confusion over questions that "did not make sense" and were "ridiculous", mocking the exam on Twitter.[13][14][15] On a Sky News segment, presenter Adam Boulton answered one of the paper's 'hardest' questions with a former maths teacher. [16][17] As a result, GCSE students all over the UK signed a petition made by a candidate requesting that the exam board lowers the grade boundaries as the examination was too hard. The petition gained over 20,000 signatures in 24 hours. In the same year, an additional petition was started by a 17-year-old student requesting to "Ensure the representation of women on the A-Level Music syllabus." The petition asks that music composed by women be added to the "Edexcel A-Level Music syllabus" which "has a total of 63 different set works from a variety of musical genres and eras." After six days, the petition had over 1,800 signatures and was featured in The Guardian.[18]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Our history - Pearson qualifications".
  2. "Edexcel London Examinations". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  3. "Ofqual orders further "conflict of interest" review into privately-owned Edexcel". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  4. "Pearson Edexcel". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  5. "Edexcel International Advanced Levels". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  6. "Benchmarking the Edexcel International Advanced Level against the GCE A Level - Executive Summary" (PDF). National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom. July 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2015. line feed character in |publisher= at position 48 (help)
  7. "Pearson International Qualifications Information Manual 2014/15" (PDF). Pearson Education Ltd. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  8. "International GCSEs and Edexcel Certificates - Pearson qualifications". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  9. "HRD Ministry mulls new policy to regulate establishment of international schools - The Economic Times".
  10. "Should Pearson, a giant multinational, be influencing our education policy?". The Guardian. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  11. "Teachers accused of GCSE cheating". BBC News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  12. "Missing exam paper sparks re-sit row". BBC News. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  13. "Students mock their GCSE #Edexcelmaths exam on Twitter". ITV News. 4 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  14. "Plymouth teenagers furious at GCSE maths exam that 'made no sense'". Plymouth Herald. 4 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  15. "Students vent their frustration at Edexcel GCSE maths exam". The Telegraph. 4 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  16. sirtommypigeon (5 June 2015). "Sky News - Edexcel Maths Paper 2015 EXPLAINED" via YouTube.
  17. "Can You Solve Exam Q Causing Twitter Storm?".
  18. Khomami, Nadia (18 August 2015). "Student demands female composers on A-level music syllabus" via The Guardian.

External links

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