Schools

‘Beyond belief’: Heads have issues AGAIN accessing SATs results

Leaders met with error messages on Primary Assessment Gateway - despite outsourcer Capita being 'confident' service would be better

Leaders met with error messages on Primary Assessment Gateway - despite outsourcer Capita being 'confident' service would be better

Head teachers have again faced problems accessing their schools’ key stage 2 SATs results this morning – despite government promising just a few months ago they were “confident” previous issues had been ironed out.

Leaders were met with multiple error messages when accessing the Primary Assessment Gateway from 7.30am, including one reading it was “currently unavailable for planned maintenance”.

The Standards and Testing Agency and £107 million contractor Capita said it had run “robust” tests this year to make sure the “system will cope with the large spike of users” after similar events last summer.

A ‘lessons learned’ review, published in April, was commissioned after failings last year including late results, lost scripts and unanswered helpline calls.

‘Many schools with problems’

Sarah Hannafin, head of policy at school leaders’ union NAHT, said it was “beyond belief that for the second successive year, schools have had issues logging in”.

“We were assured that changes had been made so there would not be a repeat this time around. However, from 7.30am this morning, many schools had similar problems as leaders tried to access their results before starting another busy school day.

“The government has made SATs extremely high stakes for schools, so it should come as no surprise that demand to access the system on the morning results are released is high. School leaders are expected to get things right, adhering to deadlines for completing tasks and submitting data; the same expectations must be met by the government.”

Adamsrill Primary School, in Lewisham, told parents that “the SAT system is down and we can not retrieve school’s results at the moment”.

Tom Campbell, chief executive at E-ACT, said “another year another terrible crash on IT systems meaning lots of schools locked out the system. So much for advances in technology infrastructure”.

A Teacher Tapp survey of 950 teachers found 54 per cent were unable to log in to access SATs results. But 41 per cent said they had no issues.

‘Be patient’, Capita says

A Capita spokesperson said: “The PAG system is operational, just busy, and we urge teachers to be patient.

“Between 07.30am and 9.00am we have had 25,303 successful downloads from 8,763 organisations.”

In its lessons learned review, published in April, the STA and Capita, running SATs for the first time last year under its seven-year contract, reiterated their “sincere apologies” to schools who experienced difficulties. 

They were “committed to delivering an improved service” this year and claimed they were “confident the changes we have put in place will achieve this”. 

This year technical issues already delayed marking by a week, with some markers unable to access training for the second year. Markers pay rates were also slashed again.

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