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College regains NCTJ accreditation – but with strings attached

brightonjournalistworkslogoA journalism college which faced an investigation over “malpractice” in shorthands exams has had its accreditation restored – but with conditions attached.

Brighton Journalist Works had its National Council for the Training of Journalists accreditation suspended last month after the training body found the integrity of exams at the centre had been “compromised”.

As previously reported on HTFP, dozens of students at BJW were told their shorthand results had been declared “null and void” by the NCTJ as a result of its investigation.

The NCTJ has now announced it had restored the centre’s accreditation, but with strict conditions as to its future conduct of exams.

The issue arose after the NCTJ became concerned about a high pass rate in a shorthand exam which took place on 26 November, after the shorthand tutor introduced words into the warm-up passage which subsequently featured in the exams proper.

It then sent a regulator to sit in on a 100wpm exam held on 11 December, who determined that the passage had not been read at the correct speed.

The results of both exams were subsequently declared null and void with 47 students in all affected.

The students were later given an opportunity to retake the exams in January.

After the accreditation was suspended on 15 January, BJW was given up to 45 days to remedy the default and to restore the NCTJ’s confidence in its ability to deliver exams to the required standard.

Following a meeting of the NCTJ board of directors yesterday, chief executive Joanne Butcher praised the swift action taken by the company to review and improve its exams operation.

Said Joanne:  “The action Brighton Journalist Works has taken and promised to take during the default period has satisfied the board that the company is committed to meeting the required standard.

“Brighton Journalist Works has promised to embed a change of culture in its business and demonstrated that it has taken appropriate action on the objectives we set regarding staffing, facilities, communications, responsibility, accountability and the management of risk.”

The conditions for restoring accreditation include a commitment to appoint an experienced head of exams at the company who will have full responsibility for all matters relating to NCTJ examinations.

The centre is also required to complete all remaining exams in the current academic year without incident under NCTJ supervision.

However if BJW fails to meet the conditions or its obligations to meet the accreditation industry standard, the NCTJ is reserving the right to remove accreditation permanently.