School exam officers say they feel under threat, overstretched and are suffering a “crisis in confidence” just as the system they manage is about undergo huge change.
The warning comes from the Examination Officers’ Association, which represents the often unsung, usually non-teaching, staff who ensure the cogs of the country’s vast exam machine turn smoothly at school level.
The association has told TES it “gets at least one or two calls a week now from members and non-members who feel their job is under threat and/or are being confronted with disciplinary action over some issue or error they have made often as a result of being overstretched over a long period of time”.
The body carried out a snap poll at the start of this summer’s exam season. Of the 200 members who responded, only 57 per cent felt their exam office had a secure position in their school “for the foreseeable future”, and just 26 per cent felt the jobs in their office were secure.
These exam officers have told the association their warnings about growing workload are ignored by school management. Now they feel they are being unjustly “brought to book over, sometimes, very minor incidents”.
“Time and time again, these calls are not [from] new exams office staff but seasoned campaigners,” the association said.
It says staff fear principals will cut exam officer numbers as government reforms turn GCSEs and A levels into linear qualifications, requiring fewer exam sessions.
But the association argues the changes will mean “the workload has just been redistributed, with a focus on just one summer delivery period proving even more challenging”.