The role of an exam invigilator and how parents can get involved

Parents Exams
25 March 2022
Jugjit Chima
Jugjit Chima is the Chief Executive of the National Association of Examinations Officers. 
One of the major impacts of the pandemic on schools and colleges has been the disruption to examinations.

The last summer exam series took place in 2019, with teachers and students adapting to a system of Centre/​Teacher Assessed Grades (CAGs/​TAGs) for the awarding of grades in 2020 and 2021. As many schools/​colleges will testify, the CAGs/​TAGs system was not without its difficulties so a return to a summer exams series is most welcome. However, reverting to written timetabled examinations after such a lengthy absence is also providing some challenges for many schools and colleges. One of these is recruiting and retaining invigilators.

Invigilators play an integral role in upholding the integrity and security of the examination process and we are supporting schools and colleges with their recruitment by collating vacancies in one place, with our Invigilator Vacancy Map, so that prospective invigilators can just enter their postcode and find a vacancy in their locality.

About the role

There are over 100,000 invigilators in England and Wales supporting the delivery of examinations and assessments across almost 7,000 examination centres. Although the summer (May/​June series) exam series is the largest examination series, many schools and colleges will also require invigilators for external examinations and assessments taking place in November and January, and for internal tests and mock examinations.

As invigilators are required at specific times during the academic year, the role is ideally suited to parents who have some spare hours’ during the day while their children are at school, retired individuals, or someone who also has other commitments but is available during some, or all, of the school day.

During these difficult times, the role provides welcome financial remuneration and does not require any previous experience, as training will be provided by the school/​college to ensure that you have a good understanding of the role and what is expected of you.

As well as helping to support your local school/​college in the delivery of their first summer exams series since 2019, as an invigilator you will also play a key role in ensuring that examinations are conducted in accordance with the regulations, whilst being a calming and reassuring presence to the students in the exam hall. To learn more about what is expected of an invigilator, download the Invigilator example job description template from The Exams Office website.

Once appointed as an invigilator, you will receive formal training from the school/​college to ensure that you are aware of the regulations as set out by the Joint Council for Qualifications. By acquiring a thorough knowledge and understanding of the regulations, not only will you be able to formally undertake the invigilator role, but you will also be in a position to support your children in preparing for their examinations. As an invigilator, you will soon appreciate that you are acquiring a set of skills which may support you both personally and professionally. These include:

  • people management
  • teamworking
  • problem-solving
  • decision-making
  • maintaining accurate records
  • risk assessment/​implementing contingency measures
  • working within a regulatory framework’

These skills are valued in a range of roles and professions and therefore, beyond their current circumstances, many invigilators – particularly those intending to return to the workplace once their family circumstances change – acquire invaluable experience which will prove invaluable in later life.