Get entries wrong and its curtains!

A new exams officer who has just taken up their post is getting in one of our EOA Centre Support team to make sure their exam office is set up for making entries at the end of the month. This is a very important investment for the individual and their centre because as everyone in the exam community knows, get the entries process wrong then the whole exam system will be undermined.


Everyone is under pressure these days, and some SLTs maybe less forgiving than others if the exams office gets this process wrong. Indeed, some exam office staff have lost their jobs in the past as result of mismanagement.  For those in post however, despite all the cuts and pressures the exam office is expected to perform to the same level of competence, whether new to role or experienced.  


So at this critical time and long before that final entry date comes into range, experienced exam office staff would be saying – 'trust no one if you want peace of mind'! In other words, check, check and double check every subject list. Only accept written confirmation of any changes signed by subject teachers and double check with heads of department so there are no surprises. Teaching staff may come and go, as do students throughout an academic year, but heads of department should have sight of all that and provide up-to-date intelligence.


And then on top are the requests for Access Arrangements (AA) and the appropriate use of Assistive Technology (AT) by teaching staff to support students in  their ‘normal way of working’. The rush to get all these lists in place as soon as possible is always a strain on the exam office, but again as many experienced exam office staff will say, look beyond that agreed list. In the case of AA and AT is there anyone out there whose condition and need may change over the course of the live exam period in the summer and therefore need additional support and help.


Having worked closely with teaching staff and SENCos is there anyone who might be just on the edge of this AA process and have not been included in previous testing for AA access because of personal circumstances? For many exams office staff the focus will be on the majority and the main stream cohort. Getting those entries right and building an intelligence on who is taking what and why.


It may be the high flyer who wants to go to Oxford but is very sensitive and prone to panic attacks or the student who just needs to get that retake maths to go onto do their apprenticeship.  Getting those entries right is therefore vital to the smooth running of the exams office but this process is not just about lists. It also about gathering a complete background on the forthcoming summer exam process, and behind every name on a list there is an expectation from both teaching staff, and student.