What does the last ATL conference mean to this community?



Back in 2006 the education and exams sector was moving over from teaching exam officers to non-teaching exams officers as result of the 2003 Work Force Remodelling between the teaching unions and the government. The mechanisms around how the exam system was managed and administered changed from that date, but the environment in which the exam system operated, did not.


Prior to 2003, teachers taught, operated as teaching exams officers and were attached to the assessment process. It was not a surprise therefore that all the exam meetings held by government, Ofqual and the JCQ functioned around teachers, even thought they no longer were directly involved with exams delivery.


The founder organization of the iEOA, the EOA, recognised this problem and began to establish a relationship with The Association of Teachers and Lectures (ATL) who also saw the growing importance of support staff within the education sector. The ATL opened its doors to the exam office community back in 2006 with the EOA becoming affiliated to the ATL and that link continues under the new National Education Union arrangement.


The iEOA is now one of the only independent representative organizations from within the exams officer community offering help and advice on exam delivery matters to the education and exams sector through its close links with the teaching community.  Up until 2006 the exam system was only represented by government, the teaching unions and the exam bodies, but the community that did the job on a day-to-day basis had no representation on any of the groups who decided on the workload attached to this role.


In 2003 when Work Force Remodeling was introduced many EOA members who chose to join a union, joined the ATL where they felt their working environment would be understood and supported appropriately. The ethos behind the old ATL relationship was to encourage and support all education staff and not just teachers. At the recent conference, the message was clear that this aspiration to support all staff involved in education will continue to be developed under the new Nation Education Union banner with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) joining up with the ATL to form the biggest union in the country.


Everyone at conference seemed to agree with the principle that the bigger this community was the more impact and influence it would have on education and the exams sector. The recent NEU/ATL survey referenced on the iEOA website in a Schools Weekly article stated the growing importance of support staff in educational delivery. However, the emphasis both in conference workshop meetings and this survey focused on teaching support staff and not on other support staff, might have discouraged some members to join, but it was referenced on many occassions that the more support staff who join, the more influence they will have on union programmes.


There is one key point to make here and that is the fact that the exams officer community has not taken up the offer to represent its community on past ATL support staff committees over the years. There now are places available on forthcoming committees and the new NEU is opening its doors to all, so if exam officers want to be part of this brave new world then they need to step up and get more involved if they want this new union to be more effective at representing their employment needs.


Remember the iEOA is not a union and its key role is to support and represent this community on exam matters within the education and exam sector. Over the years the EOA and iEOA have been feeding the union with background information on this role and it is through the union that members need to pursue issues over working conditions and employment. However, the NEU will base its approach on how best to help exams officers by referencing the expert feedback through their own recognized professional body, the iEOA.

For more information go to the following links below found on the iEOA website at -


Through our affiliated membership with the NEU/ATL, individuals can get concessionary rates.

Follow these links for further information about joining the NEU/ATL - www.neu.org.uk

  iEOA Membership | NEU/ATL & Support staff | NEU/ATL Terms & Conditions