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Building Communications with Staff and Colleagues

The importance of setting good foundations

An effective induction programme for your exams officer is central in fostering good morale and laying the foundations for a productive working relationship that results in exams office staff retention.

Ensure it covers all aspects of centre operations and is led by someone who will make it happen. Consider appointing a 'buddy' who knows the centre and can support the exams officer throughout a settling-in period. New members of staff should be introduced to the exams officer as part of their induction as well.

Be open with information

Your exams officer will need to understand the responsibilities of everyone involved in the exam cycle. Part of this process may take the form of an organisational flow chart. Support it by responding to any information requests, or role clarification.

Make time for your exams officer

The exams officer's role is a yearlong round of managing and administering the exam process, not just a high point of activity during the exams themselves. It covers everything from meeting entry deadlines to distributing certificates.

Encourage the development of contacts within the centre and externally through reciprocal visits to other centres. This helps to raise professionalism and serves as effective on-the-job training.

Your exams officer will benefit from the support of a line manager who can report on exams office issues to the leadership team. The line manager should act as a meaningful go-between by scheduling regular briefing meetings with the exams officer and other working groups and teams within the centre.

Involve your exams officer

Encourage all staff to interact with each other. Increase your exams officer's awareness of teacher activity, and vice versa, through teamwork and slots in regular department heads' meetings and staff briefings. This will enable the exams officer to update and receive input on exam-related matters and allow all parties to meet the needs of their colleagues.

A more widespread understanding should have a positive impact on exam costs, too, with everyone appreciating the need to meet entry and amendment deadlines and avoid late fees.