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Examiner capacity and culture working group launch online hub for examiners

NAHT has been part of the working group on Examiner Capacity and Culture which, on Monday 23 January, released the findings of their research into how to attract and retain teachers as A level and GCSE examiners.

The group is also announcing two immediate steps:

  • Launching two new award schemes to recognise exceptional individual examiners, and schools' and colleges' contributions to the profession
  • Launching a new website for teachers and school leaders interested in learning more about becoming an examiner and sharing best practice (

As well as the new Awards scheme and website, the exam boards represented on the group have committed to:

  • Further focus examiner training
  • Develop communities of best practice
  • Formally recognise the importance of examining and the commitment of those who do it
  • Improve the perception of examining as a professional endeavour
  • Simplify fee structures for examiners and improve clarity around job titles

The school and college leaders' associations, NAHT, HMC and ASCL, were pleased to join the Examiner Capacity and Culture group, recognising a need to be pro-active to ensure that qualification reform does not jeopardise the delivery of accurate and timely results for students. Our members can help to make a difference to developing the capacity that the system needs.

Reforms to GCSEs, A-levels and technical and applied qualifications in England - including the move from modular to linear general qualifications, the reduction in the amount of non-exam assessment and a move towards assessing higher-level skills - are likely to drive an overall increase both in the number of examiners needed and in their skill level and quality. But the current context of national challenges with teacher recruitment, particularly in some subjects, and significant concerns about teacher workload may have a knock-on effect on examiner recruitment.

The working group has brought together exam boards with school and college leaders' associations to identify how these challenges can be met and how to best promote the benefits of examining to teachers, schools and colleges. This week the group launch a report considering the successes and challenges of the current system and making recommendations for the future. 

In recognition of the positive impact examining can have on teaching and learning across schools and colleges, along with the need to ensure that students receive accurate and timely results, NAHT, HMC and ASCL have committed to encourage our members to promote examining to their staff and to consider what practical support could be provided for teachers who are examiners as well as to encourage schools and colleges to acknowledge and recognise examining as an effective form of CPD. There are many practical ways in which these commitments may be shown and our associations have produced some joint guidance for our members, outlining the benefits of examining and suggesting ways in which they might encourage their staff to consider becoming examiners and support staff who do.

First published 07 February 2018