Curriculum Council chief executive David Wood has been dumped after a string of errors were picked up in last year's WA Certificate of Education exams.

Education Minister Liz Constable yesterday cited "serious problems" with the Year 12 exams as the reason for the non-renewal of Mr Wood's contract.

She said Mr Wood had inherited many problems when he first took over the Curriculum Council and had tackled them with success.

"No one underestimates the contribution that Mr Wood has made since he became CEO, and I thank him for that contribution," she said. "But there were serious problems with the administration of senior school exams both last year and the year before."

Dr Constable said the implementation of the new national curriculum would require the full confidence of all schools, teachers, parents and students.

And proposed amendments to the Curriculum Council Act would provide a better and clearer structure, which made this a good time for "transitions and new directions".

She said the appointment of a new chief executive and any interim arrangements would be guided by Public Sector Commission processes and procedures.

Errors were picked up in last year's exams in history, physics, maths, music and business management and enterprise, raising questions about the council's proof-reading processes.

This was despite tighter controls being put in place after the council discovered in April it had miscalculated final scores for students who did practical exams in three courses in 2009.

Acting Curriculum Council chairman Ron Dullard - who is also the Catholic Education Office director - said Mr Wood told a council meeting yesterday that he would finish as chief executive on March 4.

He is expected to start a new job in the public sector after taking some leave.

Mr Wood was appointed in 2006, the fourth chief executive the council had in 12 months, when it was at the centre of controversy over botched attempts to introduce outcomes-based education courses to Years 11 and 12.

Supporters were dismayed yesterday, crediting Mr Wood with rebuilding confidence in the Curriculum Council.

Association of Independent Schools of WA executive director Valerie Gould said Mr Wood had taken the helm at a time when proposed senior secondary reforms needed wise stewardship and he helped guide development of the new WACE system that was fully implemented last year.

Mr Wood was not available for comment.

The West Australian

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