Sats leak was down to 'rogue marker' says DfE

Richard Vaughan

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The Department for Education is seeking a “rogue marker” behind the online leaking of today’s key stage 2 grammar Sats test.

According to high level sources within the department, the marker was part of an “active campaign” to sabotage and undermine the tests to have them cancelled.

A source close to education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “While the test doesn’t appear to have leaked into the public domain and can go ahead, a rogue marker did attempt to leak the test’s contents.

“It is clear there is now an active campaign by those people opposed to our reforms to undermine these tests and our attempts to raise standards.”

The leak related to today’s spelling, punctuation and grammar test for year six pupils which will still go ahead.

The DfE source told TES that the person behind that leak is was one of a list of 90 markers with access to a Pearson secure site and there would now be a “full root and branch investigation”. 

“We will speaking to each of the 90 people and when we find the person responsible they will be struck off,” they said. “We are looking into the criminality of the leaked test.”

The government is now expected to hold talks with Pearson over the security of its system and the process by which markers can upload tests and mark schemes.

It incident follows a similar leak occurred with a key stage 1 spelling, punctuation and grammar test last month.

Ministers were forced to scrap the test after it emerged that the test paper had been published online rather than a mock sample assessment.

Charlotte Smiles, a teacher in south-east England who spotted the mistake, said at the time that the leaked test made a “mockery” of the exam system.

Yesterday’s Key Stage 2 reading test was said to have left children in tears due to its difficulty, as teachers branded the assessment as “ridiculous”.

Teachers took to the TES Forums to vent their anger over the tests.

One teacher wrote: “That was, without doubt, the hardest reading test I've ever seen. Unbelievable. I'm so angry right now. That has completely demoralised a number of children in my class. It wasn't even like the sample paper they released. Much harder.”

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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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