Close of play for some!
As the summer holidays begin to approach for the majority of schools, many colleges have already closed their doors for a well earned break, that is, if they are not still carrying out various assessments attached to the forgotten majority of learners who are involved with various vocational examinations.
The window to have any break over the summer holidays seems to get smaller and smaller for some schools and college support staff. In many employment areas there is the usual agreement, to ask staff not to take breaks during key periods of activity but if you are the only one carrying out the exam office role, as in case of many schools, who else is there to turn to for cover.
Academic staff can only take their holidays during the main holiday periods when students have gone but major activity such as preparing for January exams in the December break or dealing with results in August, eat into those so called holiday periods leaving exams office staff with shorter holiday allowances. The exam system continues to function before, during and after exam centres have closed their doors. But the exam job still needs to done.
To quote a practising exam manager at a local college in the Thames region – “ my holiday period is getting shorter and shorter, as I have to stick around for all these online assessments, well after all the GCSE and A’ level exams have gone and will then need to get back to support enrolment processes which are sometimes tied to the forthcoming results days coming up in August. So if anyone thinks that I have the whole summer off like academic staff then they better think again. Like everyone else, I need a decent break after all the stress". As many will know that exam period started back in May!
So what ever happens, try and get that well earned break - have a good summer!