Exams, Schools

‘Shambles’: Heads wait hours for SATs results as Capita portal crashes

Leaders waiting since 7.30am say delays 'completely unacceptable', as national statistics website also goes down

Leaders waiting since 7.30am say delays 'completely unacceptable', as national statistics website also goes down

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Heads have been waiting for hours to receive their schools’ key stage 2 SATs results after the gateway service run by Capita on behalf of the government crashed.

Leaders’ union NAHT this morning described the problems with the primary assessment gateway as “immensely frustrating”. Many heads were still reporting at 10am that they had not been able to access results, which should have been available at 7.30am.

And to add to the problems, the government’s own statistics website has also crashed this morning, meaning headline figures due for publication at 9.30am still can’t be seen.

A Department for Education spokesperson said they were “aware that some schools are having issues accessing their key stage 2 assessment results this morning”.

“We recognise this will be frustrating for schools and are urgently speaking with our delivery partner, Capita, to try and resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

The department said the issue was “likely to have been caused by the volume of schools attempting to access the system at the same time”.

But “thousands of schools have successfully accessed their results this morning, with numbers growing rapidly”, they added.

A Capita spokesperson said it understood the delays were “frustrating for those affected and apologise for this”.

“The majority of schools have been able to successfully download their data and we are working with our partners at the Department for Education to resolve any remaining issues.”

‘SATs results day is stressful enough’

James Bowen, director of policy at school leaders’ union NAHT, said it was “completely unacceptable that the primary assessment gateway should fail like this today”.

“Results day is stressful enough for school leaders – this really doesn’t help. Fair to say that things have certainly not gone smoothly with SATs logistics this year.”

Ben Thomas, a deputy head teacher, said: “Whatever negative things happen in your life, just take comfort in the fact that you weren’t responsible for the design of the primary assessment gateway website. Absolute shambles.#SATs”

Jamie Barry, head of Yew Tree school in Sandwell, tweeted that “What gets me mad is that [the DfE] must be aware there is an issue with the site etc. However, no messages have been posted on their Twitter feed…”

Meanwhile one primary head said: “It’s quite frustrating for my school business manager to have to sit there for two hours to get in. I get why they moved it from a midnight release to morning in 2018 – a lot of staff stayed up till then to look – but at least in those days there wasn’t a mad rush.

‘Lots of anxious heads and governors’

“They knew if the release was in the morning, there’d be significant traffic, and they know there’s lots of anxious heads and governors waiting for those results as they’ve been told a lot rides on them.”

Barlborough Hall School posted at 9.51am: We’re still waiting for the SATS results as there are technical difficulties with the website. We will update everyone as soon as we know more.”

It’s just the latest issue to hit this year’s SATs, being run for the first time in full by outsourcing giant Capita as part of a £107 million contract.

Schools Week revealed markers’ pay had been slashed up the contractor this year, with some claiming their “soul destroying” pay more than halved.

Capita also had to pause marking for nearly two days to allow more test scripts to be scanned, with markers also locked out of a training webinar and complaints about getting through to the SATs helpline.

The company said it was “committed to continuously improving the service we deliver and we will work with the relevant stakeholders to learn the necessary lessons from this issue for next year’s tests”.

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One comment

  1. Marci

    And, even when you do get your results, the CTF file is malformed so cannot be imported into school management systems. Nothing has been communicated direct to schools from STA / DfE or Capita that I’m aware of.