Investigation cast doubt on ‘accuracy or correctness’
An investigation by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) found ‘doubt over the accuracy or correctness’ of SAT results at Nechells Primary E-Act Academy, Schools Week reports. Results for Reading and Maths have been annulled.
An earlier investigation by Birmingham local authority had found ‘no indication of malpractice’ at the school.
E-Act has said it will launch a ‘thorough investigation’.
E-Act took over satisfactory school when academization of primary schools was controversial
E-Act took over Nechells Junior and Infant School in September 2012 at a time when academzation of primary schools was causing controversy. In January that year, BBC Radio 4 reported that the Department for Education had used intimidation to force primary schools to convert.
Judged inadequate after joining E-Act before being upgraded to requires improvement
Nechells Junior and Infant School had been judged satisfactory in April 2010 but three terms after joining E-Act the academy was judged inadequate. The primary academy was upgraded to requires improvement in March 2016. Ofsted praised the ‘high level of support’ from E-Act.
Ceiling collapsed two days before SATs test - school closed
One question that could be asked is why Nechells Primary E-Act Academy had to administer SATs given the circumstances it was in. A ceiling had collapsed in the school on 10 May just two school days before SATs were due to be taken. Four children in Year 2 and a teacher sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene. The school was immediately closed to investigate why the ceiling collapsed and re-opened on Monday, the day of the Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests. SATs continued throughout the week.
Traumatic circumstances should allow SAT exemption
Although no-one was seriously injured, such an incident would leave pupils and staff shaky. It should be possible for schools to be exempt from SATs in such circumstances. These tests, as I’ve said ad infinitum, have no educational value.
Third primary school to have SATs annulled
Nechells Primary E-Act Academy is the third primary school to have had SAT results annulled after STA investigations. The first was Harris Primary Academy Philip Lane (formerly Downhills) and the second was St Matthew’s CofE, Hillingdon.
Nechells is the second primary academy belonging to a large academy chain which has had SAT results declared void. As with Harris, these annulments raise questions about whether the primary academies were rogue academies or whether they felt under heavy pressure from central command to deliver high SAT results, pressure which could result in maladministration of SAT tests.