The life of an OCR Customer Support Manager can vary greatly from week to week. October and November are extremely busy months and, for us Customer Support Managers, it’s all about providing local face-to-face support. Here’s what a typical week looks like for me…
My week begins in the Coventry office at 8am; it’s my first day back at work following a week visiting family in Lanzarote so I’m well rested for the week that lies ahead. I’ve kept the morning free as I know the first order of the day will be to sift through an abundance of emails and voice messages; an art I’m now well versed in! Being in the office gives me the chance to meet with colleagues to discuss customer feedback, look at ways to improve our processes and systems and resolve any complex queries I’ve received.
In the afternoon I’m in the recording studio situated on ground floor of Progress House, this is where our LOTES (Live Online Training Events) take place. Today I’m delivering a LOTE on the new Cambridge Technicals 2016 suite. I’ve designed the session to give teachers, exams officers, tutors and assessors an overview of the internal and external assessment processes which covers everything from centre approval to results. You can book on to a LOTE via our CPD Hub, and best of all they’re free!
First thing on Tuesday morning I head off from home to attend the Burton District Exams Officer network meeting run by the lovely Mary and Chrissie at John Taylor High School in Burton-on-Trent. This is my first Exams Officer network meeting of the autumn term so it’s interesting to hear discussions about reviews of marking and the new JCQ regulations.
If you’re not part of a network meeting I’d definitely recommend you find your nearest one and join. They offer an excellent opportunity to keep up to date with the latest news and developments and to discuss ideas and share best practice with colleagues. Use The Exams Office Network Map to find the nearest one to you.
It’s a busy day today as I have three meetings to attend throughout the West Midlands. The first two are Exams Officer network meetings, one in Solihull and the other in Sandwell. It’s great to see such a good turnout at both meetings and topics for discussion include how results will work for new linear qualifications and how question papers should be packed going forward. Following your feedback at network meetings, in June 2017, we’ll be packing all our question papers in timetable date order, regardless of the colour of the question paper bag.
It’s now 4pm and I’ve arrived at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College in Birmingham to facilitate and support one of our Science Teacher Network events. These meetings are designed to support teachers with the delivery of the new specifications and are led by our Subject Specialists. They’re a great opportunity for teachers to meet with likeminded colleagues and share tips and thoughts on best practice in the classroom. A full list of our Teacher Network events is available on our CPD hub.
After battling the Birmingham traffic I’m home for 7pm and it’s time for the gym. For me, exercise is a great way to relieve the stresses and strains of the working week; but then again, so is chocolate!
I’m on the road again early doors as I have the Sutton Coldfield Exams Officer network meeting scheduled for 9.30am. This is a group I’m particularly proud of as we haven’t been established for long but we now have 30 exams officers attend from 23 different schools, colleges and academies. With that number of exams officers all in one room, there’s always a lot of ideas and feedback to capture!
In the afternoon I travel to Walsall to meet with Mark who’s the Science Team Manager at Walsall College. They’ve recently started to run our Cambridge Technicals in Science and I’m here to deliver training on operational and system processes and answer any questions they may have.
I’m home for 5pm and it’s time to cook my famous chilli; the only reason it’s famous is because it’s the only dish I can cook!
I’m on the road at 7.30am en route to the North West. My first stop is the Bury Exams Officer network meeting hosted this term by the wonderful Anne and Margaret at St Monica’s RC High School. The tea and biscuits are ready and waiting and there are a few new faces in attendance which is great to see!
My second stop is the Tameside Exams Officer network meeting hosted this term by the lovely Ruth at Fairfield High School in their new hi-tech conference room. I took advantage of the huge touch screen monitors to demonstrate the new ‘Administration’ section on the OCR website which contains lots of information and guidance on how to administer OCR’s qualifications.
Paul Jones - Customer Support Manager (West Midlands, North West)
Paul is Customer Support Manager for the West Midlands and North West region. The Customer Support Team provides support, training and guidance for centres administering OCR qualifications. Before joining the Customer Support Team Paul worked in the Operational Hub and as a Qualifications Manager. His experience in these roles has given Paul a diverse range of knowledge that helps to assist and support our customers.