Roundup on recent iEOA activity for schools and colleges - part 1

Headteachers’ Roundtable Summit



The iEOA attended this event because over the past 10 years this community has continually stated that they often feel headteachers and teachers do not understand what exam officers do or value the contribution this community make to a successful centre.


Throughout the reign of government agencies up to 2014 the same message was stated time and time again – that for the exam officer community to excel in their role they needed SLT support and leadership across the education and exams sector.


The iEOA has never stopped doing just that, rising the profile of this community and representing its value to the education and exam sector. The independent position of the iEOA is respected and valued by many stakeholders and they recognise, as illustrated in the recent iEOA report on last year’s exams, that this community have a contribution to make towards the welfare of students.


A report will soon be released on this event which will be shared with everyone, and will reference the focus on teachers, teaching and workload. But the point being made by the iEOA on behalf of the exam officer community, is that workload issue will only get worse unless a more holistic approach is adopted by the education and exam sector. The delivery of successful students must be a centre team based approach which shares workload, and values each members expertise, including exams officers.


The exam officer community will therefore benefit from these approaches because this sends a clear message to the SLT and teaching community that the exams officers are an integral part of their team, putting student’s welfare first, while still fulfilling their role as gatekeepers of the exam system in their centres.


Association of Colleges Exams conference  




Despite being decimated by the weather the programme of speakers and workshops was well received. One of the key points to note from this conference was the update from the JCQ on the A2C project which has changed direction over the years from being that ‘one system’ that deals with both general and vocational qualifications (VQs) which everyone would welcome in centres.


The new A2C approach now appears to be focusing on VQs (embracing BTECs) with some GQ providers like OCR opting out of the A2C system and therefore centres will now have to resort back to using an old EDI style interface, which must be seen as a retrogressive step for data managers and exam officers, and add to their workload. The old EOA had lobbied government and awrading bodies over workload since it's creation back in 2000, and had actively supported and promoted the A2C system in the past because of the promise made by the JCQ and its members to reduce workload across the exams officer community.


This proposed change in practice by a JCQ member illustrates how diverse and individualistic our exam system really is. Despite all the efforts of the JCQ, backed by the iEOA, to bring some commonality to a key exams delivery mechanism, namely data management, across the awarding body and MIS community, in order to reduce workload and save tax payers money in centres, this effort could now all be scuppered. One can only hope that OCR will review their decision to embrace a more holistic approach to data management in the interests of their customers, especially at this difficult time when budgets are tight.