It’s the same pay for double the work, say SATs markers

Capita faces criticism over slashed marking rates for the second year running

Capita faces criticism over slashed marking rates for the second year running


Capita, the outsourcing giant paid £107 million to run SATs, has again slashed rates for markers – who say their pay packets remain the same despite a doubled workload.

Technical issues already delayed marking by a week, with some markers unable to access training for the second year.

But teachers employed to mark tests this year say their pay has been slashed, also an issue last year when the company first delivered SATs.

They also warned that big increases to their workload risked rushed marking and a backlog as some walked away from the job.

Markers were only told of their exact pay at the end of last week, days before their work was due to start.

Rate cards show how those marking some SATs scripts are due to receive as little as 2p per segment, down from 6p last year.

One marker, who spoke to Schools Week on condition of anonymity, calculated they would earn just £6 an hour based on the speed at which they could mark.

Although their overall fee this year will be similar to last, the number of responses they were expected to mark had increased by more than 50 per cent.

Capita reported pre-tax profits of £61 million last year.

‘Underhand and disrespectful’

“This is a very underhand and disrespectful move from Capita who clearly place no value on the expertise their markers bring to this process,” the marker said.

“The poor fees Capita are offering this year will just encourage quick and rushed marking, which will lead to errors in award of marks to pupils. But I anticipate many markers will just walk away, leaving Capita with a huge backlog of unmarked scripts, risking missing the deadline to return marks to schools in July.”

Another marker who spoke to Schools Week said they had six segments and 3,289 scripts per segment to mark. Their rate is 4p per segment.

They had not marked last year and “had I known the pay in advance this year, I wouldn’t have signed up. There seems to be a lot to do and not much time to do it.”

Another teacher said that although their overall pay will be slightly higher this year, the work will take “1.5 times longer”. They also reported that scripts were slow to load on the marking system, damaging productivity.

As an experienced GCSE and A-level marker, this was “by far the worst experience of marking, utterly shambolic”.

“[I] will probably quit in the next day or so as it is a very stressful and an unpleasant experience.”

Earlier this year, the exams regulator Ofqual demanded evidence of improvements from the Standards and Testing Agency and Capita after a series of failings during last year’s tests, many highlighted by Schools Week.

These included technical issues with marker training, repeated this year, and thousands of missing papers.

‘Two hours work for £12.45’

This year markers have complained on the social media site Reddit. One said they had worked for two hours and would earn £12.45. “I think I will be quitting it.” Another said they had marked about 1,000 responses and would earn near to £30.

One user said their husband had “decided to quit after seeing the rates this year…it’s insulting. They’ve essentially given almost twice as much work/marking and slashed the pay in half.”

Other markers’ displeasure on Twitter was shared by teacher Sophie Bartlett, who received anonymous reports after posting about the problems.

“In none of the paperwork do they tell you pay or number of scripts, just that you are contracted to work for them for a three-week period and the dates of the online training,” one said.

Another marker told Bartlett the system was “absolutely shambolic”, adding that it was “so slow and absolutely pitiful pay”.

“Currently on 13 hours of marking and after tax earned about £80. On verge of quitting but soul-destroying to do so after giving up a Saturday to train.”

Another said they are marking “over 26,000 questions. I am completely overwhelmed and it’s only day three.”

A Capita spokesperson claimed hourly rates for markers had risen “by at least 3 per cent year-on-year, with regular markers’ rates increasing by more than 6 per cent”.

“In the majority of test segments there is also a greater allocation pool for each marker, meaning potential earnings have also increased. We had a very positive response to our recruitment campaign and there is no shortfall in markers.”

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  1. Shaun

    Just why anyone would prop up this broken system is beyond me…no way to marking as there is not enough time to do teaching properly. I guess if you are a marker then either a supply teacher or not doing your real job properly.

  2. The reason there’s no shortfall of markers is because no one really knows how much they’ll get paid or how much they’ll be asked to do until you’re ready to mark. I marked last year and it was tough to get it all done around work and looking after my children but it was flexible enough and good pay. This year though, I’ve been in tears several times already as I’m having to stay up late every night just to try and meet the deadlines as the allocation is much higher this year and pay much lower. If I mark one of everything, I’d get 37p for 8 sections, last year it was 49p for 6 sections

    • How many hours was there per deadline? Trying to ser if this is something I can manage / want to do. I’m wondering if I can do this to afford something for my daughters disability and I need to know time effectiveness.