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Government website failure on Sats results day branded ‘immensely frustrating’ by education unions

TODAY’S failure of the government website carrying Sats results on the day that they are meant to be published has been branded “immensely frustrating” by education unions. 

The Primary Assessment Gateway website has repeatedly crashed as headteachers at primary schools nationwide attempt to access year six pupils’ grades.

School leaders’ union NAHT slammed the “completely unacceptable” situation, with policy director James Bowen saying: “Results day is stressful enough for school leaders – this really doesn’t help.”

Gareth Letton, executive principal of four primary and special academies in Nottinghamshire, said trying to use the site is “reminiscent of trying to get Eurovision tickets,” while Ben Thomas, head of Ranikhet Academy in Reading, blasted the gateway as an “absolute shambles.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We’re aware that some schools are having issues accessing their key stage two assessment results and are urgently speaking with our delivery partner, Capita, to try and resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

National Education Union joint general secretary Kevin Courtney reiterated his criticisms of the national exams, which assess progress in English and maths, saying: “Sats and other statutory tests do not support children’s learning. 

He added: “Our members tell us every year that a system that sets children up to pass or fail by the time they are 11 cannot be good for their mental health.

“They want children to develop a love of learning. Instead they report children who cry and display anxiety, while others become disengaged with their learning.

“The NEU wants children to have a broad curriculum that nurtures the qualities they will need in life and a new system of assessment that enables this.”

Earlier this year, NAHT criticised the fact that Sats are going ahead this year, warning they will be “useless” because of the significant loss of class time during three Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. 

The union’s survey of more than 2,000 school leaders in March found just 8 per cent thought the tests would provide meaningful information about their school’s performance.

In the same month, Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton also criticised a decision by ministers to let schools’ inspectorate Ofsted use 2022 Sats data as part of its judgement of curriculum impacts.

The move makes “no sense whatsoever,” he stressed. 

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