Chief Executive Officer's Message - September 2022: The challenges facing the exams officer community as we return to 'business as usual'

As we embark on a new academic year, the NAEO will endeavour to identify and address the main issues facing the exams officer community over the coming twelve months and beyond.

Before we look ahead, we need to appreciate the difficulties faced during the 2021/2022 academic year. The DfE labelled 2021/2022 as a ‘transition year’ as although we saw a return to a ‘normal’ summer exam series which included written timetabled examinations, it was clear that the impact of the pandemic would pose a series of challenges for exams officers, awarding bodies and the authorities alike. All parties should be commended for their patience and diligence in overcoming several difficulties to ensure that exams were delivered as timetabled, and students received their grades…even though in some cases this involved an unacceptable wait beyond the official results day(s).

In the coming weeks and months, the NAEO will be analysing the issues which occurred and offering our support in resolving these to ensure that we do not see a repeat during the summer 2023 exam series and results period.

The main focus for the NAEO during the 2022/2023 academic year will be to support our members and the wider exams officer community in the following areas.

1. Membership

We will continue to offer a free academic year membership to all exams officers in centres which are members of The Exams Office.

Existing members - Please note that all memberships are automatically deactivated at the end of an academic year, so ensure that you acquire your 2022/2023 academic year membership by logging into your account and select your name and renew your membership according to the instructions.

2. Representation

The NAEO will continue to liaise with awarding organisations, JCQ, Ofqual and DfE to represent the view and concerns of our members and to lobby for changes/improvements which enhance the status and profile of the exams officer role.

3. Collaboration

We are endeavouring to form a link with an education-related trade union/association to promote issues which impact upon the exams officer community and lobbying for reforms which will support our members in their everyday role.

We will also be launching a ‘member benefits’ programme which delivers a range of promotional offers from a range of educational/non-educational suppliers to members.

4. Addressing everyday issues

We will continue to support organisations such as The Exams Office and the awarding bodies in developing resources and support which help exams officers preparing for an exam series, successfully delivering an exam series, managing results and post-results, and overcoming issues such as a shortage of invigilators or a lack of support from senior leaders/head of centre within their centre.

The NAEO will also continue to provide free-to-access legal support to the value of £1000 per member in the event of employment/contractual disputes.

5. Launching the Exams Officer Professional Standards

A key element within our strategy of raising the profile and status of exams officers is to launch the Exams Officer Professional Standards.

These standards will evidence knowledge and understanding of the regulations, promote the skills which are required to undertake the role, and confirm a commitment to upholding the integrity and security of examinations and assessments.

The aim of these standards is for exams officers to be viewed in a professional capacity as the individual within a centre who is responsible for the management, administration and conducting of examinations and assessments. They will also help exams officers to self-evaluate, reflect, and determine their professional development needs.

During the 2022/2023 academic year, we will launch the standards and strive to obtain recognition from key stakeholders within the sector including the Department for Education, Ofqual and organisations representing heads of centres and senior leaders. We will also lobby for the standards to form part of the recruitment process when appointing an exams officer, and to inform discussions during annual appraisals or regarding professional development requirements.


Following the impact of the pandemic, the 2022/2023 academic year will see the exams community finally return to ‘business as usual’ exams-related activity. For exams officers appointed since September 2019 there is little or no experience of a ‘business as usual’ year and therefore they will require support and guidance in ensuring that exams and assessments are delivered in line with regulations within their centre. It should also be noted that those who engaged in the role pre-pandemic will also need support in re-adapting to the delivery of written timetabled exam series’ after two years of teacher/centre assessed grades.

Whatever your circumstances, rest assured that the National Association of Examinations Officers will support you in your everyday role, will represent your concerns and lobby to raise the status and profile of the exams officer role. 

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