Teacher slams 'buy an essay' websites

A SECONDARY school teacher has claimed some internet sites are "cheating" students out of an education by selling ready-made essays which can be used as coursework.

A SECONDARY school teacher has claimed some internet sites are "cheating" students out of an education by selling ready-made essays which can be used as coursework.

Simon Warr, of the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, spoke to the East Anglian Daily Times yesterday following a debate on a national radio station with Dorit Chomer who runs a website called Essays-r-Us.co.uk.

The site sells tailor-made essays to students on any subject at any level, from GCSE to degree, for £50.

Pupils are then free to use the essays as they see fit, although Mrs Chomer asserts that they are told not to submit the essays as their own work.

However Mr Warr, who teaches languages and Latin, claimed that such sites were making a mockery of the coursework system and that they left poorer students at a disadvantage.

"I really think that sites like this should be outlawed by the government," he added. "We have to consider the conscientious pupils that do it for themselves because their efforts are belittled.

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"Students can pay £50 for an essay to meet their own private specifications whether it be GCSE, A-Level or degree and speaking as a teacher that has to mark coursework I am particularly concerned by it.

"This site employs professional university lecturers who write essays on any subject - history, geography whatever. I think this is cheating. It is the cancer of coursework. Children are being cheated out of their education.

"In my opinion, sites such as this don't benefit the pupils and don't help the teachers. In a time when we are trying to make education exciting and interesting this just doesn't help."

And Mr Warr, who appeared in the Channel 4 series That'll Teach 'Em where a group of students were taught in a school from the 1950s, added that because the "opportunity to cheat is inexhaustible" coursework should now be written under controlled conditions.

"Coursework was introduced for pupils that couldn't work as well in an exam environment," he continued. "But because this type of thing is becoming a real problem I firmly believe that the only answer is to have people monitored when they write it."

However Mrs Chomer defended the business saying that pupils were within their rights to use the site and that by purchasing ready made essays they were not cheating.

"Basically what happens is pupils come to me with a piece of coursework, a word count and a deadline and I take the order and get a professionally written essay done for them," she added.

"We make it very clear to customers that they cannot hand the work in as their own because that would be plagiarism and so they have to change it before they hand it in.

"If they do hand it in unchanged then they have to acknowledge my name in the bibliography but most of the lecturers are too lazy to check anyway.

"I admit that it's unfair on the students who have worked hard to produce an essay but I wouldn't call it cheating."

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