The JCQ awarding bodies wish to provide further guidance and clarity on the role of centre staff in the examination room, other than exam officers and invigilators. Section 17 of the JCQ publication Instructions for conducting examinations provides clarity on who may be present in the examination room.

The head of centre has a duty to maintain the integrity of the examination and to ensure that fully trained invigilators are in place for examinations and on-screen tests. Invigilators must have been trained to undertake their duties (see section 12 of the JCQ publication Instructions for conducting examinations.

Rules relating to centre staff other than exams officers and invigilators

Senior members of centre staff approved by the head of centre, who have not taught the subject being examined, may be present at the start of the examination(s). When entering an examination room, the senior member of centre staff must identify themselves and their purpose for being there to the senior invigilator and/or exams officer.

Senior members of centre staff have a very clear role. Principally:

  • to assist with the identification of candidates;
  • to deal with any disciplinary matters;
  • to check that candidates have been issued with the correct question paper for the day, date, time, subject, unit/component and tier of entry if appropriate;
  • to check that candidates have the appropriate equipment and materials for the examination;
  • to commence the examination.

Under no circumstances may members of centre staff:

  • be present at the start of the examination and then sit and read the examination question paper before leaving the examination room;
  • enter the examination room with the intention of accessing the examination question paper;
  • have access to the examination question paper unless this is specifically requested by either the exams officer or an invigilator. For example, a possible printing error has been identified and, in the absence of an erratum notice, the exams officer needs this verified by the relevant subject teacher before escalating the issue to the awarding body;
  • give any indication of their opinion of a question paper to candidates, verbally or otherwise, having been asked to inspect the content;
  • communicate with candidates, except in timed Art tests and timetabled CCEA and WJEC GCE AS/A2 Science Practical examinations, or where maintaining discipline in the examination room. This constraint extends to coaching candidates, reminding candidates which section(s) of the question paper to answer or which questions they should answer;
  • enter the examination room and approach candidates, either to prompt them to make an attempt at the examination or to provide support and encouragement;
  • enter the examination room and read candidates’ scripts.

Support and encouragement may be offered at any point up until the time that candidates enter the examination room. From that moment onwards they are under formal examination conditions and the strict protocols must be adhered to.