Beef up SATs security to avoid maladministration claims, government tells schools

Headteachers are being urged to have two members of staff check deliveries of SATs papers when they arrive at schools to help them avoid allegations of maladministration.

The government has also beefed up its advice for the way key stage 2 SATs are supervised, recommending that schools invite a “trusted” member of the school community to observe the exams.

New guidance issued by the Standards and Testing Agency today recommends that two people check test deliveries, then put test materials, unopened, back into the original delivery box and reseal it.

The government did not previously specify the number of people who should be involved in checking the tests.

New guidance also recommends that schools invite a community member to observe key stage 2 tests. Its previous advice said only that schools “could” do so.

As well as their previous responsibilities of making sure tests are securely stored before and after the exams and ensuring pupils are appropriately seated and supervised, the observers should also now check that all unused test papers are “accounted for and stored securely until the test window closes”.

The update reiterates that headteachers are responsible for keeping SATs and phonics screening check materials “secure from when their school receives them until the end of the test and check administration periods”.

Heads should also make sure that teachers and other staff who handle the materials “understand their sensitivity”.

“This will help ensure that the security and confidentiality of the tests and the phonics screening check is maintained, so no pupil has an unfair advantage over one another.”

The update also urges schools that download electronic versions of key stage 1 tests or phonics screening check materials to ensure all electronic files, and any materials subsequently printed in hard copy, “are also stored securely until the end of the test or check period”.

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