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Recruiters tempt examiners

Does examining tick your box? For the first time, England's qualifications regulator is working with all three major exam boards to co-ordinate recruitment in the face of continuing examiner shortages. And a pound;100,000 campaign to recruit thousands of new markers for this year's national testing and exams season began this week.

Teachers who apply are being promised less paperwork. And they could be paid more than in previous years (though the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is not saying how much).

An advert has been placed in newspapers, including The TES, under the slogan "Examining. Ticks all the right boxes". It then highlights how markers can get insights into improving their students' performance and how examining can demonstrate teachers' professionalism. The campaign comes with its own website, which features case studies from five young examiners who appear to have enjoyed the experience.

The QCA aims this year to increase the number of examiners and markers by 3,000 from 60,000, a 5 per cent rise, and to improve the co-ordination of boards in responding to shortages for particular exams.

The campaign comes as part of a pound;100 million drive to "modernise" the exams system. Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, made the cash available, after warnings last year from QCA chief executive Ken Boston that marker shortages threatened the exams system.

Currently, examiners earn pound;750 on average for 35-40 hours' work marking one set of scripts, or around pound;20 an hour, though these figures can vary according to examiner experience and the subject.

A survey of 1,000 teachers, carried out by the authority earlier this year, found that 70 per cent had never worked as examiners, and half of these had not even considered doing so.

Mick Walker, QCA programme director of exams and testing, said that 6 per cent of those surveyed did not even know how to go about becoming an examiner, while many were not aware that there was a shortage.

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