SATs: Calls for ‘immediate investigation’ after new claims of wrong results

Heads' union said it has been given 'no clear answer' from ministers over latest Capita issues

Heads' union said it has been given 'no clear answer' from ministers over latest Capita issues

Headteachers are calling for an “immediate investigation” into key stage 2 SATs results after reports of missing papers – and now claims of incorrect marks being issued. 

The NAHT union have raised “deep concerns” about the management of SATs this year – run by outsourcing giant Capita under a £107 million contract – but say they have been given “no clear answer as to the scale of the issue”. 

The union has faced a growing number of complaints about schools not receiving marks for some pupils and some being “incorrectly allocated”, it said today.

TeacherTapp figures last week suggested 20 per cent of primary teachers had KS2 SATs papers with marks missing. However, Capita claimed over 99 per cent of 3.8 million test scripts were processed “without any issues”. 

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said government was “unable to tell us how many children had been given incorrect marks for their SATs this year and how many papers have gone missing”. 

“For schools to then find, on closer investigation, that some of the marks they have been given are incorrect, hints at complete chaos. It should not be up to schools to have to spend hours double checking everything they’ve been told.”

Steve Ellis, chief executive of Cheshire Academies Trust, said one of their five primaries had 14 papers that were marked as missing. He said some were on green paper, used for children with dyslexia. “It’s a travesty that even one paper goes missing,” he said. 

Fiona Kent, a primary school headteacher in Lincolnshire, said they had one paper missing. “I’ve not had this in my 10 years of doing this. It’s quite frustrating.” 

An NAHT member told the union how they found out a paper had been marked and returned in the wrong name. One paper had been marked twice in two different pupils’ names, NAHT said.

Review window extended

Capita apologised last week for the missing papers following reports across social media.

The Department for Education said “a number of scripts” were not included in results for reasons including papers arriving too late to mark or issues with scanning, but “where possible” marking would take place as quickly as possible. 

The department has now extended the window for schools to apply for a review of test results by a week, until July 22.

Meanwhile, some secondary schools faced issues uploading data into management systems for incoming year 7s, claiming SATs scores were “muddled” and the file type was “incorrect”. 

It’s just the latest issue relating to the Capita-run administration of SATs this year. 

Teachers were locked out of a marker training webinar, while others have spent hours waiting on the SATs helpline trying to get simple answers. 

Markers then also complained their pay had been slashed under Capita, with threats they would never work for them again. 

And then last week, heads were waiting for hours to receive their SATs results after the gateway service run by Capita on behalf of the government crashed.

‘Urgent action’ needed

Whiteman added: “The delivery of these tests has been beset with problems from start to finish. We need an immediate investigation into what has gone wrong, and the government must take urgent action to fix it.”

Schools Week has asked DfE and Capita for a response to the latest concerns. 

Last week a Capita spokesperson said: “The vast majority, substantially over 99%, were processed without any issues, but a small number were unfortunately not included in the results returned on Tuesday 5 July.   

“We appreciate that this is frustrating to the schools affected and we apologise to them.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “Our delivery partner, Capita, are investigating all cases of missing results and working to reduce the number as far as possible, while keeping schools up to do date. We expect this process to be complete over the next week.”

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