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Sep 25 2013

Newton Farm School: Year 6 SATS Papers ‘Altered’

school_signSomething very strange has happened at Newton Farm School in South Harrow, with what appears – on the surface at least – to indicate that some Year 6 pupil’s SATS test papers had been ‘altered’, possibly after they were completed by the pupils concerned.

Could this be indicative of, perhaps, some over-zealous teacher(s) trying to get their pupils a better result? If so, wouldn’t this appear to be cheating, at the highest level?

The school advises, in a letter to parents yesterday, that results for “…the mathematics or the grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) tests…” will not be released by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) – that decision follows an investigation into the school’s administration of the tests. The letter in full:

Dear Parents and Staff,

It is with regret that I have to inform you that Newton Farm pupils who took their Year 6 SATs this summer will not receive some of their results.

The decision to withhold the results has been made by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) and follows their investigation into the school’s administration of the tests. The outcome of the investigation, of which we were notified about this week, is that the STA has found that a handful of pupils’ scripts had been altered. [pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]…a handful of pupils’ scripts had been altered. This could not have been done under test conditions…[/pullquote]

This could not have been done under test conditions and as such casts doubt over the validity of some of the scripts.

As a result, the STA have released the Reading test results but are unable to release the SATs results for any of the pupils for the mathematics or the grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) tests.

Newton Farm will, therefore, have no mathematics or GPS test results when the national results are published later this term. However, the school’s reading results which have now been issued by the STA show that 100% of the pupils gained Level 4 in reading and 97% achieved Level 5.

The Governing Body of Newton Farm School is extremely concerned about the findings and regret that, as a result of the hard work of the pupils, staff and parents, the children who have now left the school will not receive some of their SATs results. The Governing Body is also taking comprehensive action and has already put into place procedures to ensure that such an incident cannot occur in the future. We will be conducting our own enquiries into this matter and will inform you accordingly.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Dennis Guest

Chair of Newton Farm Governing Body

The school has refused to respond to questions put to it, leaving that duty to fall on the Chair of Governors. Harrow Council, likewise, were unwilling to comment saying it was a ‘school decision’ to respond.

What is shocking is that only a few months ago, everyone was praising the school for becoming the top primary school in the country. Indeed, in a BBC article, Head teacher Rekha Bhakoo says the results are down to high expectations.  I’m sure many parents, especially of those children so badly affected, will have other expectations now.

 

 

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3 comments

  1. David

    What a farce. Harrow council education dept has a lot to answer. Will new leader ensure heads roll?

  2. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    David – Newton Farm school is run by its board of governors, NOT Harrow Council! As you appear to be so interested why don’t you offer up your services as a school governor yourself? There are loads of vacancies.

  3. Rob

    David, you clearly have a lot to learn about how local governance operates…

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