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New Year Resolutions - working together!


A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. (Wikipedia)


What is your New Year’s resolution as you enter a new term, filled with mock exams and entries, and of course let’s not forget the gathering in of requests for Access Arrangements from teaching staff and SENCos. or the securing and training of your invigilation team?


In the recent iEOA survey many members and non-members expressed concern over workload and how the - “lack of understanding at SLT and Head level” – portrayed the exams officer role as still a part-time post which was only active during the summer term. Back in 2005, the EOA was promoting a more interactive role by exam officers with the internal mock exams process in order to encourage good practice and prepare both teaching staff and students for the formal public exam process in the summer. Unfortunately, on top of this responsibility for mocks came the regular workload associated with the old modular exam system, so workload rocked.


But the modular exam system has gone, and the traditional mock exams sessions have returned in force. The whole idea behind encouraging exams officers to take control and manage mock exams was to give them the opportunity to demonstrate their role and importance to teachers and SLT and counter this – “lack of understanding”. Maybe we are all underestimating the consequences behind the staff churn within both the teaching and exam officer workforce.


In the iEOA wellbeing section of the recent survey over 80% of respondents stated that they were getting – “ more and more stressed over growing workload” and part of that workload was related to the growing demands of exam bodies and – “Ultimately (as referenced in the recent survey), we are consumers of awarding body products, but more on-line functions or have meant a vast amount of increased workload on exams officers. Boards reduce their staff and push out the workload to exams officers, by making so-called improvements”.


Maybe a good year’s resolution would be to break down the myths around the exams system which seems to many to operate as a closed shop, within which the exam officer community appears on face value, to be included. However, what many exam officers may not have realised is that by continuing to accept this historic external micromanaged approach, they may be simply perpetuating their own isolation from the very people who can give them the most support and appropriate profile and status, their own internal centre colleagues.


As the final report on the iEOA survey will reveal it’s about time, we all understand who is doing what, and why, so this community can continue to improve and develop into a more professional workforce. Our New Year’s resolution must, therefore, be let’s focus on finding solutions to all these issues, especially through exam officers, who make such an invaluable contribution to the overall delivery of learners across the education sector.