Tutor Snapshot Survey Oct/Nov 2021 Results

Essex Ham conducted a “snapshot” poll of tutors who have registered with the HamTrain Tutor Community (website, newsletter and/or Groups.io discussion group) to get some feedback on recent changes to the exam system.

42 valid responses from those involved in training were received between 01 October and 06 November 2021, and a list of participating clubs can be found at the end of this document.


Download Full Survey Results (PDF): Tutor Snapshot Survey Oct/Nov 2021

Do you support the RSGB’s decision to scrap the mandatory assessments?

“Yes” 13 33.3%
“No” 26 66.7%

How do you feel about practicals as part of the Foundation exam?

An optional practical element is important/relevant 23 56.1%
A mandatory practical element is important/relevant 20 48.8%
Optional practical help at clubs for those who’ve passed, is more helpful than mandatory assessments before the exam 18 43.9%
Removal of practicals will result in lower on-air standards 17 41.5%
Removal of practicals makes the hobby more accessible 13 31.7%
The existing mandatory practicals were of limited use/value 11 26.8%
Mandatory practicals are not important/relevant 6 14.6%
Removal of practicals is harmful to our club 5 12.2%
Removal of practicals will have no impact 4 9.8%
Optional practicals are not important/relevant 1 2.4%

How is your club proposing to move forward?

We are currently undecided on next steps re. training 14 34.2%
We will continue to deliver a classroom Foundation with other practical sessions 9 22.0%
We will continue to deliver a classroom Foundation with the existing practical sessions 7 17.1%
We offer Foundation training online (no practicals) 4 9.8%
We will continue to deliver a classroom Foundation, but without any practical sessions 2 4.9%
We have stopped / will be stopping classroom Foundation training 1 2.4%
We do not offer Foundation training 1 2.4%
No answer 3 7.3%

 What training/exams will your club be offering?

Paper exams at our existing exam venue 19 46.3%
We’ll offer online exams at our existing exam venue 17 41.5%
Unsure of future plans at this time 15 36.6%
We’ll ask candidates to book their own remotely-invigilated exams 13 31.7%
We do not offer exams 2 4.9%

  • Encourage online exams and host paper examinations if people want them.
  • Waiting until after Christmas when hopefully we will have a better picture of covid requirements
  • We will provide voluntary online and club practicals
  • We’ll inform candidates they can book their own remotely invigilated exams
  • Paper exams discouraged but optional
5 12.2%

How do you feel training and exams will operate at your club over the next 12 months?

Extracts of some of the responses:

  • We have no permanent premises, so no formal practicals will make it easier to find premises. It will also allow more time to spent on the rest of the syllabus. I expect some practical work to be done optionally, probably concerning operating,
  • Not sure, training via Essex Ham, exams online is most probable, need to do something about practicals
  • Expensive to run training. May point potential candidates to online services but offer practical help and guidance.
  • We are uncertain how to move forward at this point. We can not offer online (no broadband) We also find the constant change in syllabus a pain.. we have only had small numbers apply and just as you find a format that works there’s a change. Personally I am thinking of stepping out the train and enjoy MY hobby. RSGB seem to be looking for change for change sake at every turn. I’ve personally had enough.
  • There will be less training ESPECIALLY with yet another change to the syllabus and the extra work involved in updating the course material etc
  • Hopefully be back to where we were prior to Covid by end of 12 months. Cautiously optimistic.
  • We are unlikely to be doing much training due to shortage of tutors.
  • The same so successful methods as we have done in the past 12 years, we turn out excellent well trained members who all have a very good knowledge of electronics
  • We Intend to resume training and exams sometime next year. So far as practicals are concerned, there is a lot of hot air spoken. There is nothing to stop trainers from getting students to do practical work and for trainers to do practical demonstrations. If a trainer feels that a student is not ready for an exam, don’t apply for one until he/she is. Practicals were never ever insisted on by Ofcom and were never a feature of the RAE! If trainers feel they are of value, do them.
  • I think that online courses will reduce the number of candidates who will come to us for courses/exams. We’ll be there for those that don’t want to go online. We’ll be happy to support all post-exam.

Any comments on face-to-face exams or the removal of practicals?

Extracts of some of the responses:

  • Good to see face to face sessions re-instated. The dropping of mandatory practicals will give more scope for using practical work to illustrate the “written” syllabus, and for letting candidates suggest what practical work might help them.
  • I agree that during lockdown it was a good idea, but it has left SOME at a disadvantage, especially those with no previous technical or on air experience.
  • Re-introduction of face to face exams increases the options available to clubs and candidates. In my view practicals encourage candidates to join clubs and are likely to improve general skills and an understanding of AR etiquette.
  • The current Foundation practicals felt staged at best and I am pleased the RSGB have got rid of them. I understand they will ask folks views about introducing new practicals in the future. Until that time, our club shall offer face to face practical training as required.
  • Getting on the air for the first time can, for some new licensees, be nerve-wracking. Operator training is essential and could be delivered, with an exam, online. Construction techniques are mostly self-taught amongst most amateurs. Optional online videos would get beginners started in soldering and measurements.
  • I think the RSGB has lost touch with the worker bees. Clubs are an important part of the total amateur radio picture something the RSGB have overlooked.
  • Removal of mandatory practicals is a pragmatic way forward. It removes a barrier to entry for those unable to find local training. It would be great if all new people could do the practicals, but not at the expense of a barrier to entry.
    My greater concern is the removal of the option of paper exams. I feel this is a backward step. I have no objection to online exams (no matter whether directly or remotely invigilated), but some people of ALL ages prefer paper exams. For technical and particularly logistical reasons, my local club will NOT be offering online exams.
  • Removal of class room practicals and exams prevents geography been a barrier to the Hobby especially in the North East of England and Cumbria. The same holds true for Scotland.
  • I understand why the RSGB has removed mandatory exams. The number of people who’ve passed their exam since online training/exams were introduced has far exceeded those that sat/passed the course prior to this. To reintroduce mandatory practical assessments would introduce a hurdle/barrier to learning for many. The ability to offer physical training and out own more in-depth/relevant practicals remains as before, so this would not change our offering at all.
  • Our club always felt the practical part was the “fun” part of a training weekend that broke up the theory sessions and brought people together, we always saw it as a training assessment that virtually nobody failed. Recent passes both pre and post practical have unanimously said they would prefer to keep the practical part.

Clubs Taking Part

Participants were optionally given the chance to mention their club:

  • Angel of the North ARC
  • Bolton Wireless
  • Bracknell ARC
  • Brede Steam ARS
  • Buxton Radio Amateurs
  • Caithness ARS
  • Cheltenham ARA
  • Colchester Radio Amateurs
  • Denby Dale ARS
  • Dragon Amateur Radio Club
  • East Cleveland ARC
  • Essex Ham
  • Furness Amateur Radio Society
  • Hammersmith ARS
  • Hastings ERC
  • Hereford ARS
  • Isle of Wight Radio Society
  • Kings Lynn ARC
  • London Hackspace Radio Club
  • M0OHA Ormiston Horizon Club
  • Newbury & District ARS
  • Oldham Amateur Radio Club
  • Poole Radio Society
  • Quantum Technology Club
  • TARS
  • Thurrock Acorns ARC
  • West Kent ARS
  • Worthing Amateur Radio Training


Download Full Survey Results (PDF): Tutor Snapshot Survey Oct/Nov 2021

Thanks to all those who took part.


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