Autumn Exams and DBS Checks

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This year for many teenagers has been like no other year. After exams were cancelled in the early summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was another period of turmoil when the results were issued in August and not all young people got what they had been expecting. Although most students will use the graded awarded in the summer to progress to the next stage of their education, or find employment, there is always the option to resits the exams in the autumn in the hope of securing a better grade. This is particularly important in 2020, where there are large numbers of students unhappy with the grades awarded. Running exams doesn’t mean just setting the papers and letting the schools administer the tests. Exams are usually invigilated externally, often by retired teachers, or students hoping to supplement their income. Invigilating can be a good way of topping up income with a couple of weeks’ work, but there are a few hoops to jump through first.


What Do Invigilators Do?

Most of us will remember sitting school or college exams with someone at the front of the room reading a book or doing a crossword. Invigilating has moved on a bit since then, and the staff are now responsible for everything from checking there’s no cheating, to making sure the exam runs to time. Invigilators are given a long list of rules, and have to make sure the exam runs properly. Invigilators might also work more closely with individual students; perhaps reading out the questions to someone with dyslexia, setting up computers for answers to be typed, or writing out responses as a scribe. Training is usually provided, but it’s easy to see how the role is suited to people with recent experience in either sitting exams themselves, or in teaching.


Paperwork and DBS Checks

Arrangements for recruiting invigilators vary around the country. In many areas, councils recruit centrally than allocate invigilators to schools. Sometimes schools recruit their own help, and this is certainly the case in the private sector. Many invigilators are classed as self-employed, and are paid a set hourly or daily fee at the end of the exams when they submit an invoice.

DBS checks are essential for anyone working in schools and with young people under the age of 18, and invigilators are no exception. An enhanced DBS check can take many weeks to process, which is perhaps why schools prefer to use the same people year after year. Some schools may accept DBS checks obtained in other situations, especially for invigilators who are going to be working in rooms with large numbers of students, and more than one invigilator. However, for staff who are being recruited to work one to one with students requiring additional help, an enhanced disclosure is essential. The other point to bear in mind is that schools don’t have the legal obligation to pay for these, and often ask an invigilator to fund their own DBS certificate.