Chief Executive Officer's Message (September 2021)

Welcome to the National Association of Examinations Officers (NAEO)

After two years of planning and hard work behind the scenes, we are delighted to announce the launch of a professional association with the sole aims of representing and supporting the exams officer community.

In devising our support, we listened to the needs of exams officers and will ensure that we focus upon the following core objectives:

  • To represent the views of the community
  • To influence decision makers
  • To offer advice and support
  • To devise a programme of reward and recognition
  • To facilitate networking amongst exams officers

The NAEO has launched with a range of support for its members (see below), however, what is currently offered will be built upon in the coming months and years to provide a substantially wider range of benefits for its members.

The NAEO has been set up as a community interest company (CIC) which ensures that it operates to benefit its community rather than private shareholders. Any funds generated will not be paid in inflated salaries to the CEO or other staff members, but will be put to use by a CEO and board members who are committed to ensuring that any surplus money is reinvested back into the NAEO. This reinvestment will enable us to offer the following to our members:

  • Employment rights/legal advice
  • Personal and professional development
  • Articles/videos
  • Mindfulness and well-being
  • Annual summer conference
  • Reward and awards programme

During the 2022/2023 academic year, we are planning to launch an online forum as a platform where members can obtain good practice ideas, hints and advice from their peers, exam experts and key organisations within the sector. We are also hoping to involve exams officers within the structure of the NAEO and will be announcing how you can become involved in the coming months.

At this stage, however, we are focused upon ensuring that the NAEO has a successful launch and the organisation functions effectively to offer a quality service for its members. In this regard, we are very grateful to The Exams Office (TEO) for not only providing us with the necessary IT and staffing support, but also for allowing us to offer free membership to exams officers within their member centres for the 2021/2022 academic year, and hopefully beyond, as we are currently generating no income!

As many of you will already be aware, I founded TEO in 2013, but from now on, my main focus will be the NAEO, as it will be for our Chief Operating Officer, Nick Marr and our board members, Brian Rogers and Marcia Woods.

I will ensure that TEO and the NAEO work closely to deliver the subject matter support required by exams officers at centre level and the additional element of ‘personal’ support to meet individual needs beyond the role itself.

To ensure that this connection and collaboration between the two organisations remains in place, I will continue to deliver the face-to-face training of behalf of TEO and write articles and blogs for their website as a way of ensuring that I keep abreast of the issues faced by exams officers and key elements of the role. The training events will also provide an opportunity to meet exams officers/NAEO members in person, something which I hope to build upon by also attending network meetings on a regular basis.

It should also be clearly stated that the launch of the NAEO does not mean the end of TEO. On the contrary, TEO has invested in providing additional support for exams officers in member centres for the 2021/2022 academic year, including invigilator videos, updated policy templates on the Policy Generator Tool and a range of additional support resources. They have also appointed staff to develop their IT capability to offer even greater, and more efficient, online support. The intention is for the NAEO and TEO to work in partnership to support exams officers and their centres for many years to come.      

Although the NAEO officially launched on 1 September, for several months we have been working to raise the profile of the association. We have met with organisations representing head teachers, senior leaders, and teachers, and have meetings planned with all the major awarding bodies in the coming weeks to outline our aims and objectives and to identify how we can liaise and work together moving forward. A close relationship already exists with the JCQ and Ofqual, both of whom have been very supportive and are keen for such an organisation to exist to support the exams officer community. It is also very encouraging that the DfE have also approached us to share our views on decisions which impact upon the management, administration and conducting of examinations.

In the coming months, I will update members on our meetings with stakeholders, but I can confirm now that any dealings we have with colleagues at these organisations will be friendly, positive, and conducted to support the objectives of both sides. The NAEO will build a reputation as an association which works collaboratively, offers solutions as well as highlighting issues, and represents the views of its members in a professional manner whilst appreciating the aims of objectives of other stakeholders and organisations.

One of our immediate objectives is to seek the views of our members and the wider exams officer community. To ensure that we represent the key issues which face our members, we will be conducting an annual survey, beginning this October, which will provide a snapshot of the ‘state of the nation’ from the perspective of an exams officer. As well as identifying the status of the role (e.g. how many new exams officers, salary, additional roles undertaken, performance management/annual appraisals etc.), the annual survey will inform us of the key matters on which the NAEO will focus whilst in discussions with partner organisations and the ‘authorities’ as we strive to raise the profile and status of the exams officer community.

Many thanks for your support and I hope that we can support you in the coming months and years.

Jugjit Chima - Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Examinations Officers

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Examinations Officers Services Community Interest Company (CIC), T/A National Association of Examinations Officers. Company number: 13441956.

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