BSB centralises exams for BPTC

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is overhauling assessments for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), following recommendations made in the Wood Review.

Derek Wood QC proposed in his 2008 report that the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) should be renamed the BPTC and that a centralised exam should be introduced to ensure consistency across course providers and closer regulatory oversight of standards.

Executive Dean at London South Bank University Professor Mike Molan, who is leading the team of examiners, explained that the previous system allowed each provider to devise their own assessments, working in conjunction with their own external examiner.

“By doing centralised exams we will be able to look across providers and ensure a uniform process in the way assessments are marked and solutions used,” commented Molan. “It was more a case of perception that there could be variance in approach across providers. By implementing this [centralised assessments] it will remove any possible assertion that candidates are being favoured in one institution over another.”

“The assessments that have been used this year are effectively going into a centralised question bank. The material used in the new assessments will be drawn from material already used by providers,” he added.

Many of the recommendations accepted by the BSB following the comprehensive Wood review of the BVC, will continue to be implemented through the introduction of the BPTC.

The news arrives following the announcement that the BSB was putting the recommended BPTC aptitude test on ice for a year, due to a further pilot underway with 1,600 students participating (read more).

Any proposals will then need to be approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB) leading to the delay in the implementation of the scheme, which will now be introduced in the autumn of 2012.