A Sussex-based English tutor, Grant Hudson, has set up an internet service to advise students on essay writing in an attempt to combat plagiarism.
"Plagiarism has become a plague and one which the teaching profession seems powerless to control [where] writing an essay was no more than an exercise in cut and paste," writes Peter Williams, editor of Information World Review (Europe's leading newspaper for the information industry) in a recent IWR blog.
The Inner Circle Writers' Group offers several different services to help students with school and university English essays so that they will be able to avoid the impulse to cheat and buy essays from unscrupulous companies.
"Services are available now whereby someone will write an essay for a school or university student on demand," Mr. Hudson said. "All the student has to do is send in an essay question and someone else does all the work. They charge a lot of money, but some students pay because they worry about their own abilities to reach certain grades. This is against any school's or university's regulations, and a student who makes use of such a service is risking expulsion."
"As well as being unethical, expensive and lazy, having someone else actually write your essay for you is pointless, as the education you're receiving serves no purpose."
Though plagiarism has become much easier with the rise of the World Wide Web, the official examining boards in England have, until recently, only been able to discover less than one percent of students actually copying essays directly from other sources. Now, new software enables universities, in particular, to track down the originals and so catch the plagiarist.
"The problem is that new companies, often based overseas, have found a way around this by offering to write the essay from scratch for the student, which is very difficult to trace," says Mr. Hudson, who also works as the Head of the English Department at Greenfields School in Forest Row, East Sussex. "I decided to tackle this by setting up the Inner Circle Writers' Group which helps with essay coaching, teaching students by e-mail how to write better essays for much less than these other companies charge. Hopefully, students will turn to services like mine and learn to improve their own skills rather than panicking and seeking what seems like an easy way out which could lead to disaster and a wasted education."