How can we help to support teachers delivering our specifications and prepare students for our exams? Lucy Carey and Grant Robertson provide a brief overview of the role and function of our Subject Advisor team and the ways in which we can support you during your teaching.
Subject Advisors come from a range of backgrounds and previous contexts, most of us are ex teachers and all of us are assessment specialists. We provide advice on the delivery and assessment of both our general and vocational qualifications, and internally to the directorates on a range of activities.
The bread and butter of our role is to provide high quality and accessible support to our centres – teachers know they can get practical advice and answers to their complex questions. We use a variety of channels, from events (such as teacher conferences, subject specialist events) to responding to direct emails from teachers asking for help and guidance to clarify the mark scheme or help understanding our specification.
We're often asked to speak at external conferences and subject events where we provide support to teachers, we have given talks about the structure of exams, how the specification works, and the type of resource or CPD support that teachers can expect. We attend a vast number of networks and one-to-many events where we support teachers in the delivery and assessment of our qualifications.
We also gather information in from these events in order to inform OCR’s planning for both current and future products. We're keen to inspire those new to the world of education and assessment. In order to start relationships early, we also work with a range of higher education institutions offering teacher training.
In a word, no. We have excellent trainers to deliver specific teaching and learning training. What we do is quite different but no less important. We provide opportunities for centres to gather and share ideas, we facilitate discussion.
We also provide assessment related support. For example, in networks and free webinars, such as Q&As, you will often hear us dissecting exam questions in order to provide teachers with a greater understanding of the assessment process.
A key part of our work involves positioning OCR as an authoritative voice within subject communities. We are the outward face of OCR to a large number of stakeholders and work collaboratively with royal societies, subject associations and text book publishers.
Subject Advisors need to be 'uncontaminated' (meaning we can't see live papers before they are sat). We are not standardised assessors, although we work with lead markers to help teachers understand the application of the mark scheme after the exam is sat.
Our support of the live series also involves advising centres who have concerns after their students have sat the papers, quality assuring moderator reports and providing reports to centres. In addition, we deal with post-results day queries.
Social and digital media is a key part of the work we do. We engage teachers through a range of channels, including blogging and subject-specific Twitter feeds. You can check out a range of blogs we've written on the OCR website, ranging from 'Changes to Computer Science Teaching' through to 'Using our specifications to deliver GCSE Maths more effectively'.
Want to know more about any of the above, including our networks and other events? You can comment below, call us on 01223 553998 or find us on Twitter at @ocrexams. Get in touch via email and twitter. You can also stay in touch by signing up for email updates relevant to your subject.
Lucy Carey - Subject Advisor
Lucy joined OCR in September 2017 as the Subject Advisor for Sociology and Psychology. Before joining OCR she worked as a teacher being the head of Sociology and Psychology departments in Peterborough, Yorkshire and Cambridge. In her spare time she enjoys scuba diving and travel.
Grant Robertson – Subject Advisor
Grant started working at OCR in February 2014 and is a lead subject advisor and advises on history. His degree is in History and Politics, with a focus on modern European and African history and 19th century political thought. Previously, Grant was a Head of Politics, Law and Humanities in schools in Kent and Kingston upon Thames. Outside of work he is an F1 junkie, a passionate Charlton Athletic fan and spending time with his family.