CEO Message - February 2024 : The launch of additional support for senior leaders

Later this month, the NAEO, in partnership with The Exams Office and The Learning and Skills Office, will be launching a free-to-access website to support senior leaders in managing examinations and assessments in their centre in line with JCQ regulations.

This website will be free to access and provide support in the following areas:

  • Recruiting an exams officer: information relating to a job description, person specification, the interview process, salary and contract type
  • Supporting your exams officer: advice and guidance on supporting new to role, new to centre and experienced exams officers with an induction plan, meeting agenda templates and appraisal and performance review documentation
  • Exams Officer Professional Standards: the importance of the standards, registering your exams officer for the standards and claiming their certificate
  • Support materials: to help a senior leader manage examinations/assessments in line with JCQ regulations, including a checklist for senior leaders, monthly and termly checklists, key documents, sharing exam information, contingency planning and training for senior leaders
  • Stakeholder information: updates from key stakeholders including the Department for Education, Ofqual, JCQ and its awarding bodies, NAEO and The Exams Office

The key aim of the NAEO is to raise the profile and status of the exams officer community. However, this will only be achieved with the support of senior leaders, and in order to acquire this, the NAEO appreciates that it must also support senior leaders in effectively managing examinations within their centre.  

In recent years, JCQ regulations have placed greater emphasis upon and provided clarity for the role played by heads of centres and senior leaders in ensuring that each centre has robust processes and procedures in place to protect the integrity and security of the examination system, with section 5.3 of the General Regulations for Approved Centres publication stating that:

'The head of centre must ensure that the examinations officer is line managed and actively supported by a member of the senior leadership team who has a good working knowledge of the examination system.

It is the responsibility of the head of centre to ensure that his/her centre... has in place a member of the senior leadership team who will provide effective support and supervision of the examinations officer to ensure that the integrity and security of examinations and assessments is maintained through an examination series.’

However, the purpose of the Senior Leader & Line Manager Exam Support website is not only to provide materials to enable senior leaders/line managers in each centre to ensure compliance with JCQ regulations, but also to provide support to ensure effective supervision and line management of their exams officer.

Resources will be available to ensure that centres appoint the best/most suited applicants, and that any appointees are subsequently supported in their induction to the role/centre. The management of experienced exams officers will be facilitated with support materials relating to meeting agendas, appraisals and performance reviews.

In addition to a range of key documents to help senior leaders perform their role in  effectively managing examinations and assessments in their centre, the website will allow a senior leader/line manager to register their exams officer for the Exams Officer Professional Standards and claim the certificate on an annual basis to confirm that all three elements of the standards have been met (see the February article – The launch of the Exams Officer Professional Standards).

Senior leaders play a pivotal role within centres with a significant workload, with responsibilities in relation to examinations and assessments only adding to their workload. It is imperative that senior leaders are afforded the necessary support to enable them to acquire a good working knowledge of the examination system, ensure that they are aware of the latest updates from key stakeholders, and that they are in a position to provide effective support and supervision for their exams officer. The launch of this online support is the first step that the NAEO is taking as part of our support programme for senior leaders and line managers with further initiatives to follow….therefore, we urge all exams officers to inform their line manager/senior leadership team of the online support which will be available in the coming weeks, and to ensure that they take advantage of this new and invaluable resource.  

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