Staff throughout the school may wonder what exams officers do throughout the rest of the academic year when there are no exams on; whilst very few are brave enough to say it to my face !
Little do they realise the significance of February and exam entries. Exams officers hold one of the largest budgets throughout the school and February can be a month when your centre realises how important you are and worth your salary as getting the entries in on time can save a large amount of late fees and additional expenditure, which would seem especially prudent during this time of financial constraints.
It does meaning chasing Heads of Departments (HOD’s) for entry information - some of them I have to chase again and again. Even with all my years experience I am never afraid of asking my line manager or Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for help. Although copying in SLT to an email seems to gain an instant response and the information you need! It is better now to flag up an issue rather than wait to be asked why you have received a large bill for late fees.
My previous electronic data interchange (EDI) used to open automatically on my computer but the A2C programme does not. So I need to remember to open it and leave it open all day and make sure the files are showing as submitted for all qualifications and all AO’s.
I am also working with my SENCo, mindful of the deadlines for Access Arrangements (21st February 2017) to get all of our applications on the system and all the paperwork in place. It is all about team work in my school.
Once this is all done I can start planning timetable scheduling, clashes and invigilation for the summer exams, to ensure they all run as smoothly as possible. I truly never stop.
If you are or still feel new to role don’t forget to check out The Exams Office termly exams and data checklists and their exemplar documents. They do welcome your feedback. The Exams Office strives to be an organisation which is 'led by exams officers'.
As the exam structure has changed so has our reporting to parents. Instead of the January AS and GCSE modules we have internal (mock) exams. We report to parents on these just before February half term. So a busy time again chasing staff to get everything on the system.
All of our reports and grades are available electronically to parents. So we always get a few email changes as well to process, once they realise they cannot access them and they remember they have not informed us they have changed email addresses.
Our school intranet allows parents access to a data collection sheet. So they can see the information we hold on them. It also allows them to update their details which we can either accept or decline. It is just another way of making sure our data is accurate and, hopefully, up to date.
It was nice to see some old faces at both the BETT exhibition and The Exams Office’s Professional Development Conferences.
If you are new to role find out about your local network group. Most exams officers and data managers are happy to share experience. The Exams Office has produced, with the help of OCR, a local network group map, which has free access to all.
And, don’t forget, if there are any documents you would like The Exams Office to produce, just email them, and they’ll see what they can do to help.
Hopefully we will catch up in March, with all the summer planning well underway and no doubt a few more grey hairs.….!