Bonuses for Sats bunglers

Officials who oversaw this summer's marking have earned high- performance payouts

Warwick Mansell

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Civil servants who oversaw this year's Sats shambles have been awarded thousands of pounds in bonuses, The TES can reveal.

Some 104 of 105 officials at the National Assessment Agency, which appointed private firm ETS Europe to oversee the marking of the exam papers, will collect performance pay next month.

The agency oversaw this summer's marking, during which thousands of scripts went missing or were delivered to the wrong place. Many markers were paid late and more than 1 million pupils' results were delayed.

Despite this, the agency's staff are among 440 Qualifications and Curriculum Authority employees - almost 100 per cent - who are being rewarded this year.

The one-off bonus awards for 2007-8 range from Pounds 512.50 for a low-ranking official to Pounds 3,905 for a more senior staff member.

A source close to the QCA said: "I think the public will struggle to understand why people are receiving bonuses in this way this year after this summer's events."

The revelations came as The TES learnt that ETS Europe admitted to losing around 3,500 scripts. The firm told the Government that the papers might never be recovered.

Details of the QCA's bonus pay-outs this year have been seen by The TES, despite the fact they are so sensitive that most of the authority's own staff have not seen them.

Martin Roughley, head of Beulah Junior School in Thornton Heath, south London, said he was "repeatedly fobbed off" by the NAA after calling it 15-20 times chasing up his pupils' English results over the summer. They eventually arrived in mid-September.

He said: "The NAA was supposed to be delivering a service to us, and from my perspective as a primary head, they failed - big time. So I find it staggering that so many people have been deemed to have performed well."

Figures reveal that 69 - or two-thirds - of the agency's 105 officials were graded "more than effective" in performance appraisals this year. This attracted a bonus worth 5.5 per cent of the individual's salary.

Some 35 staff were graded "effective", which earned them a 2.5 per cent reward. Only one was found to be "less than effective".

Senior agency staff were judged more successful than their less experienced counterparts, with the proportion of employees graded "more than effective" rising steadily through four pay bands.

Ken Boston, QCA chief executive, was criticised this summer after his pay - Pounds 175,000 plus Pounds 153,900 in benefits - was revealed.

A QCA spokesman said: "The pay settlement is for the financial year from April 2007-March 2008 and therefore relates to the 2007 test cycle, which was delivered successfully. A large number of NAA staff work on programmes unrelated to the delivery of national tests."

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Warwick Mansell

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