AQA apologises after ‘appalling’ late-night email demanding grade evidence within a day

The exam board AQA has apologised after it emailed some schools last night to demand grade evidence within less than 48 hours.

Headteachers voiced their frustration on Twitter after receiving emails from the exam board demanding evidence be sent “with a deadline of 10am Wednesday”.

Ofqual has said all evidence needs to be submitted within 48 hours, but heads pointed out that the timing of the email had left them with just one full working day to comply.

AQA later apologised, initially saying the deadline would be “48 hours from when you received the email”.

However, an updated comment published this morning states that “the deadline will be 48 hours from this morning” and the exam board would be “sending an email shortly to confirm this”.

“We realise that requesting your evidence outside of working hours yesterday wasn’t the right thing to do.”

A spokesperson said it had taken “longer than expected to know which students and subjects to request evidence for”.

“This meant that we weren’t able to email schools until much later on Monday than we’d hoped – and our emails included an incorrect deadline of 10am on Wednesday. We’re really sorry for this and we’ve been back in touch with schools this morning to confirm that they have until Thursday morning to submit their evidence.”

Teacher Mike Thain tweeted: “It’s bad enough the govt have spent the last 18 months issuing updated guidance to schools on Friday evening for a Monday implementation.

“For the exam boards to join in is appalling. The word you’re missing is “sorry”.”

Some leaders reported receiving the emails as late as 10.14pm.

One exams officer called the emails “disgraceful” and said the exam board had “no understanding of how things actually work in schools”.

Leaders have also reported problems accessing AQA’s portal for submitting evidence this morning.

Helen Burrows said she “came in at 7am to get started and can’t log on”.

Assistant head Daniel Stucke tweeted: “How about 2 clear working days from when it’s actually possible to login? Because right now logging into the submission portal just loops endlessly.”

AQA posted on Twitter that it knew some people were having “issues logging into our portal and trying to call us right now”.

“Just to let you know that we’re answering your calls as quickly as we can and bringing in extra colleagues to help. Remember to click the ‘AQA ID’ button on the page to log in.”

It comes after AQA and other exam boards faced issues with their portals for submitting grades last week, within days of the deadline.

AQA confirmed it had “systems” issues on Thursday but claimed its portal was not affected, while OCR admitted schools had been unable to access its portal, but the problem was resolved by 5.10pm. WJEC had to take its portal down for an hour on Friday to fix a problem.

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