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 Amateur radio exams – timing explanation 
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Post Amateur radio exams – timing explanation
Amateur radio exams – timing explanation
On 6 February we gave an update on the amateur radio exams and their need to change to reflect the changes to the Ofcom licence conditions.

Since that announcement, some members of the tutor community have raised questions about the RSGB’s decision to move the start of exams to the new licence conditions to 1 September from the original target of 1 April which had been proposed in a Tonight@8 webinar in August 2023. This note is to explain the reasoning behind this change.

In the webinar, it was stated that meeting the 1 April target was dependent on both the timetable for the consultation and representation process in the Ofcom consultation document and publishing the new syllabus (v1.6) in the first week of January (giving about three months’ notice to tutors and candidates).

Ofcom had originally planned to publish the results of the consultation in November, but this was delayed until December. The knock-on effect of this was the representation period went over the Christmas/New Year holidays into January. As there could be changes to the licence following the representation period, we were unable to finalise the syllabus for the start of January.

The Ofcom consultation document did not give a precise date for the adoption of the new licence. We had worked on the assumption that it would be towards the end of the final quarter of the financial year 2023/24 leading to the 1 April target. We later learned that the new licence will be in effect before 1 March, so even with the 1 April date there would still have been a period after the start of the new licence when we examined to the old licence conditions or had to suspend exams.

Although we didn’t know the details, we were aware that there were some representations taking place which could affect the syllabus. We had also received feedback from tutors and ESC members on the first draft, which suggested more work was needed on the syllabus. These meant that the earliest the new syllabus would be ready for publication would be March. Allowing three months’ notice would then put the start of exams to the new licence conditions in June, for which we would need Ofcom approval. However, given that June to August is traditionally a quieter time for exams, it made sense to request from Ofcom approval to continue to examine to the old licence conditions until 1 September instead. We thought this would give plenty of notice to tutors and candidates and allow sufficient time for careful vetting of the question bank to make sure no questions on the old licence conditions slip through the net. We released news of the change of date immediately after Ofcom gave its approval.

In the end, we made the decision that the quality of the syllabus and exam was more important than rushing the process to try to get close to a target date based on an assumption that turned out to be incorrect.

We hope that this helps to answer the questions that have been raised about the timing and that we can now work together as a exam and training community to ensure everything is in place for 1 September.

Tony Kent, G8PBH
Examinations Standards Committee Chair


Fri Feb 23, 2024 11:32 am
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