Exams

Watchdog warns of exam board staff ‘burnout’ after Covid chaos

New report sheds light on how boards coped in last two years

New report sheds light on how boards coped in last two years



Exam boards may lose talented staff to “burnout” after two years of cancelled tests and constant change, Ofqual has warned.

The exam regulator’s Qualifications Price Index 2021, published on Thursday, sheds light on how boards have coped with the move to teacher grades over the past two years.

It said that awarding bodies “highlight the compound effect” on staff who had to design and implement the changes, leading to “extended working hours and deferred annual leave”. 

Although they have “increased confidence” in making future changes, boards said that “in some cases the challenges from constant change and short timescales involved over the past two years may result in talent loss from the sector due to employee burnout”.

But they hope that a move to hybrid working during the pandemic will help to retain staff.

Exam boards also warned of a “loss of muscle memory” about the “processes and procedures” involved in running an exam series. 

The report said: “This leads to increased risk which will require increased planning and increased sector communications and training to mitigate, within both awarding organisations and centres.”

The report highlights the annual price and operational changes across the qualifications sector by gathering evidence from awarding organisations.

It shows that the average price for all qualifications increased by 3.7 per cent between 2020 and 2021, compared with 3.2 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

Schools Week revealed last year how schools were expected to pay millions of pounds more in exam fees – despite formal tests being cancelled. 

However, boards gave rebates for GCSE and A-levels totalling £102.4 million last year.

Ofqual’s report shows how boards saved money by not having to mark, print or distribute exam papers. It does not include specific figures.

The report acknowledges that boards also incurred “significant costs” such as quality assuring teacher-assessed grades.



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  1. What are they having burn out for? They do nothing. The psople that should be stressed are the teachers and students. They have both been given the exam information way too late, as well as the fact the teachers have been told to teach things that are not even in the exams. The students are stressing out all the time, as rhey have to continuously study for what their teachers have not taught them yet, and have to stress about the fact, that even the teachers are expressing the fact they are stressed.
    The examiner’s have nothing to be ‘burned out’ for. Stop acting like your the ones who are struggling and grow up. You examiners are the ones who are being affected the least.