Pay claims don't bear examination

26th March 2004 at 00:00
This is not the first time that you have published articles about the fees paid to examiners, which from my own experience give an excessively rosy picture (TES, March 12).

I have worked for two boards, marking A-level French exams. When marking essays, I find the maximum number of scripts I can mark in a day is 30, which at about pound;1.30 a script, gives a day's earnings of pound;39.

Worked out at an hourly rate, where I find eight scripts really good going, it amounts to pound;10.40. We are usually allocated about 400 scripts to mark over four weeks, which equates to pound;520 and takes, with all the admin involved (for which we receive an extra lump sum of about pound;40), about 70 hours.

As for the oral exams, which require not only more sustained concentration but also involve unpaid travelling time, I am paid pound;13.75 an hour, for a maximum of 13 candidates daily, which works out at a pound;68.75, in return for being out of the house for up to 10 hours.

For the past two years this board has paid an additional lump sum of pound;50 per session (or pound;100 for a full day) to those of us who are not employed as teachers. This "bonus" is neither advertised nor guaranteed and this year is not being used as a carrot to recruit new examiners.

I can earn more working as a manual labourer, for very much less demand on my brain. As a former teacher, having spent 28 years in the classroom, I think many would agree that these figures indicate that exam boards do not really value teachers' experience and qualifications at all.

Perhaps examiners in other subjects are rewarded much more handsomely, but I somehow doubt it.

Guy Whitmarsh Richards Castle Ludlow Shropshire

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